Ratings & Reviews
Aaron is sharp and quick to grasp the gravity of any situation. He is very responsive to client inquiries and requests. Aaron is an extremely organized person, which serves him, his law firm, and client well. He has the highest of ethica...
Aaron is sharp and quick to grasp the gravity of any situation. He is very responsive to client inquiries and requests. Aaron is an extremely organized person, which serves him, his law firm, and client well. He has the highest of ethical standards and represented me well in my needs. He does not hesitate to confront and engage the most formidable challenges. I’ve used Aaron and the Crosthwait Law Firm as my sole representation since 2010 for numerous legal needs and highly recommend him and the Crosthwait Law Firm. .
What impressed me about Aaron, was that nothing was "sugar coated". He was very straight forward and told me what to expect each step of the way. He kept me informed of what the options were and the risks. Your knowledge of the law was inv...
What impressed me about Aaron, was that nothing was "sugar coated". He was very straight forward and told me what to expect each step of the way. He kept me informed of what the options were and the risks. Your knowledge of the law was invaluable. Thank you, Aaron!
While no one wishes to find themselves in a divorce proceeding, Mr. Arnall is a knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney who can guide you through the process. I was impressed of his knowledge of the federal retirement and benefits program. I...
While no one wishes to find themselves in a divorce proceeding, Mr. Arnall is a knowledgeable and trustworthy attorney who can guide you through the process. I was impressed of his knowledge of the federal retirement and benefits program. I have found Aaron to have the ability and professionalism to handle many different types of legal issues that came up during my divorce. He was a calming and confident presence during a very difficult time.
Aaron is very professional, organized, responsive and cares deeply for his clients. I highly recommend him!
Mr. Arnall was able to help me with my divorce, he has knowledge of working with military members and was able to help me complete my divorce in a short time before my relocation to a different state. I would recommend Mr. Arnall and if I h...
Mr. Arnall was able to help me with my divorce, he has knowledge of working with military members and was able to help me complete my divorce in a short time before my relocation to a different state. I would recommend Mr. Arnall and if I have the opportunity I would work with him again.
THE FOLLOWING IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO REFLECT THE OPINIONS OF THE CROSTHWAIT LAW FIRM, ITS ATTORNEYS, OR ITS STAFF, REGARDING THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION.
The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 105, which would legalize "covenant marriage" in Oklahoma. The Bill's proponent, Senator Josh Brecheen (R-Coalgate), cites U.S. Census Bureau data which lists Oklahoma as having the highest divorce rate in the nation. While Senate Bill 105 has not yet been passed in either the full Senate or the House, and is not yet the law in Oklahoma, it raises a few questions regarding covenant marriage in Oklahoma.
What is a covenant marriage?
According to Senate Bill 105, as proposed, "[a] covenant marriage is is a marriage entered into by a man and woman who understand and agree that the marriage between them is a lifelong relationship."
What would it take to have a covenant marriage?
The proposed language in Senate Bill 105 provides that, in order to obtain a covenant marriage license, the marrying couple would have to attend premarital counseling which "emphasiz[es] the nature and purposes of marriages and the responsibilities thereof." When applying for the covenant marriage license, the couple would "declar[e] their intent to do so on their application...and execut[e] a declaration of intent to contract a covenant marriage."
What if I got married before this law was passed and my spouse and I wanted a covenant marriage?
The proposed Senate Bill 105 address that as well, providing that a couple already married and "domiciled in Oklahoma [would be able to] execute a declaration of intent to designate their marriage as a covenant marriage."
What's the difference between a covenant marriage and a traditional marriage?
The short answer, other than each spouse's commitment to the other, is not much. Remember, however, the purpose behind the covenant marriage is to slow the growing rate of divorce in Oklahoma. Accordingly, what it would take for a couple who entered into a covenant marriage to get divorced is more restrictive than under current law.
Currently in Oklahoma there are twelve statutorily recognized recognized reasons for a Court to grant a divorce:
- Abandonment for one (1) year;
- When the wife at the time of her marriage was pregnant by a person other than her husband;
- Extreme cruelty;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Incompatibility (which is the primary reason cited in the vast majority of divorces in Oklahoma today, also known as "no-fault" divorce);
- Habitual drunkenness;
- Gross neglect of duty;
- A final divorce decree from another state which does not, in this state, release the other party from the obligations of marriage; and
- Insanity for a period of five years with the insane person having been an inmate in a state institution for the insane or a private sanitarium, and affected with a type of insanity with a poor prognosis for recovery.
Under the terms of Senate Bill 105, the list of reasons to divorce a traditionally married couple would remain the same. However, for a couple who entered into a covenant marriage the list would be reduced to only five (5):
- Physical or psychological abuse of the spouse or a child of one or both of the spouses;
- Abandonment by one spouse for a period of one (1) year;
- The spouses have lived separate and apart continuously, without successful reconciliation, for a period of one (1) year. Further, "[w]ritten notification of the intent of a spouse to to live apart sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the premarital counsel or any other marriage counselor agreed to by the husband and wife and to the other spouse" shall start the clock running on the one (1) year period.
- Fraud in entering into the marriage contract or into a covenant marriage.
For family law attorneys, a petition for dissolution of a covenant marriage with children "shall not allege specific grounds for divorce" and "the court shall hold a hearing to determine whether there exists any of the [five (5)] causes for divorce" listed above.
It remains to be seen whether or not Senate Bill 105 will become law in Oklahoma and, if it does, whether or not it will have any effect on our state's divorce rate.
© The Crosthwait Law Firm, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from The Crosthwait Law Firm is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to The Crosthwait Law Firm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.