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Divorces Involving Minor Children After November 1, 2014

Beginning November 1, 2014, 43 O.S. 107.2, was amended to include a requirement that any “actions for divorce based upon incompatibility filed on or after November 1, 2014, where the interest of a child under eighteen (18) years of age is involved, the adult parties shall attend, either separately or together, an educational program concerning the impact of divorce on children.”

This new provision specifically requires parties with minor children who seek to get divorced because of the parties’ incompatibility, otherwise known as a “no-fault” divorce, to attend a class that includes the following topics:

  1. Short-term and longitudinal effects of divorce on child well-being;
  2. Reconciliation as an option outcome;
  3. Effects of family violence;
  4. Potential child behaviors and emotional states during and after divorce including information on how to respond to the child’s needs;
  5. Communication strategies to reduce conflict and facilitate cooperative coparenting; and
  6. Area resources, including but not limited to nonprofit organizations or religious entities available to address issues of substance abuse or other addictions, family violence, behavioral health, individual and couples counseling, and financial planning.

As set forth in the statute, this program will cost between $15.00 and $60.00.

The program must be completed by the divorcing parties prior to or within forty-five (45) days of receiving a temporary order. A final disposition of child custody shall not be granted until the program is completed by the parties.

The Court is given the authority to waive this requirement for good cause. It remains to be seen what will qualify as good cause, and this will be an area of Oklahoma divorce and custody law that will continue to develop over the next few months.