New Oklahoma Law Means Higher Fees
The cost of filing for divorce just got higher in Oklahoma, as did the expense associated with receiving a traffic ticket on the state’s road. There are more than 60 new laws going into effect as a result of the latest state Legislature session that adjourned in May for summer break. Lawmakers worked to balance a state budget with more than $1 million less than they had in the previous year, which resulted in various cuts, as well as the General Appropriates Bill. Members of the judiciary committee were approached during the session and asked about fees.
For starters, the fee for filing for divorce will increase from $143 to $183, as well as the fees associated with filing for alimony without divorce, separate maintenance, custody, and support. These fees will increase regardless of how a divorce or other family law arrangement is settled, and as a matter of fact, the alternative dispute mediation fee has increased from $2 to $7. Mediation is the option of early settlement through facilitated negotiation in divorce and other legal matters. This program has been in place since the 1980s in Oklahoma City and the fee has never before been increased.
Lawmakers point out that even with the increase, Oklahoma’s fees are still lower than what other states charge.
According to the Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Greg Treat, the increases in fees were necessary to protect the courts. He pointed out the system would be unable to function without the fee increases and that it had been some time since the last increase. He wanted to make sure people utilizing the services of the court were helping to pay for them.