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Oklahoma Looking to Minnesota to Lower Divorce RateIt’s the age-old question among those concerned about high divorce rates across the country: should it be easier to divorce or easier to marry?

The question popped up again with a recent Oklahoma impact study covering the effects of divorce on children.

According to the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative, a group devoted to building better marriages within the state, Oklahoma is consistently among top states in the nation for filing for divorce. The association notes that around 32 percent of all Oklahomans who have been married claim to have also been divorced.

(A separate study by confirms that Oklahoma currently owns the fifth highest divorce rate in the nation.)

As a result, Oklahoma lawmakers are looking at possibly duplicating an initiative in Minnesota that requires those looking to get married to attend mandatory marriage counseling before receiving a marriage license.

How The Minnesota Law Works

Minnesota allows marriage applicants to pay a $40 marriage license fee (down from the standard $115) if a minimum of 12 hours premarital education has been attained. To qualify, the parties must submit a dated and signed statement from the counselor who provided premarital education confirming it was received.

The counselor must be “a licensed or ordained minister or the minister’s designee, a person authorized to solemnize marriages under Minnesota Statutes, section 517.18, or a person authorized to practice marriage and family therapy under Minnesota Statutes, section 148B.33,” according to

The site noted that education must include “the use of premarital inventory and the teaching of communication and conflict management skills.”

The Logic

While not popular in every state, Minnesota and now Oklahoma are embracing the idea because it provides a very real incentive for spouses-to-be to slow down and consider the real reasons they’re getting married in the first place, rather than looking at the next 60 years as if it will be a perpetual honeymoon.

Rather than forcing couples already decided on the divorce papers to stay in combative marriages, these states are hoping to sober up love birds before they ever take the step in an effort to ensure they do what they’re about to do for the right reasons.

As an online divorce service that hopes to ease couples through the divorce process, we’d like to know: do you think it should be more difficult for a couple to marry or divorce, and what do you think of the Minnesota law that Oklahoma is now considering?

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