How Do I Divorce A Spouse In Another State?

Divorce A Spouse In Another State

To divorce a spouse in another state or when you don’t know where they are certain things must be done first. Navigating through a divorce can be a challenging process with specific requirements. This is especially the true if your spouse resides in a different state. Its also true if you don’t know where your spouse lives so that you can get them served with the divorce petition. But don’t let this geographical barrier or knowledge of their location stop you from achieving the resolution you need. Although family law statutes in Oklahoma require that you follow very specific procedure’s for divorce geography or knowledge of their location shouldn’t stop you form getting your divorce.

Understanding Oklahoma Divorce Laws

Under Oklahoma law, you are eligible to file in the state if you have been a resident for six months. The Oklahoma statutes (43 O.S. § 102) require that one spouse must be an actual resident of Oklahoma for six months immediately preceding the filing of the Petition. You must also pay attention to the venue or county the case must be filed in. This is called venue and it requires that you live in the county filed in for 30 days prior to filing.

Filing Divorce In Oklahoma: The First Step

If you meet the residency requirements, the first step in the process is to file a Petition for Divorce in the county where you reside. This involves filling out the necessary paperwork and providing relevant details about your marriage, including the date and location, the names and birth dates of any minor children, and the reason for the divorce. The reason for the divorce is either for fault or no-fault.

Serving Your Spouse

After you have filed for divorce, your spouse must be served with the divorce papers. This is an important step, as it gives your spouse notice of the divorce proceedings and an opportunity to respond. Under Oklahoma law, if your spouse is in a different state, they can be served by the following;

Personal Service: This involves having a process server or sheriff personally deliver the divorce papers to your spouse. Your spouse must acknowledge receipt by signing an acknowledgment of service. Or they can have the process server complete an affidavit of service.

b. Certified Mail with Return Receipt: You can send the divorce papers to your spouse via first class certified mail. There must be be return receipt requested. Your spouse’s signature on the return receipt serves as evidence of service.

c. Acceptance of Service: Your spouse can voluntarily accept service by signing an Acceptance of Service form, which you would file with the court.

Serving A Spouse With an Unknown Address

Notice and opportunity to be heard is a bedrock found in all legal proceedings. In divorce cases its not uncommon for spouses to lose contact with each other. The courts recognize this and have procedure’s in place that allow you to move the case forward and to a conclusion. In cases where the spouse’s location is unknown, you may have to ask the court to grant you a divorce by default. The courts require service by publication, or announcement in a newspaper for several weeks. To do this you need special permission from the Judge in your case. Each Judge is a little different and may require different efforts are made before they allow you a default.

How Is It Affected By My Spouse’s Location?

The location of your spouse may affect the timeline of the divorce process. Although this might be a challenge it doesn’t prevent an Oklahoma court from issuing a divorce decree. However, an Oklahoma court may not be able to make decisions on certain issues. Those issues include child custody, if your spouse and the children have not lived in Oklahoma for at least six months.

Division Of Property in Oklahoma Divorce

In Oklahoma, marital property is divided under an “equitable distribution” principle. This means that property acquired during the marriage are split in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. It’s important to note that this rule applies no matter where the property is located. If your spouse is living in a different state and has property there, it may still be subject to division in an Oklahoma divorce.

Jurisdiction Matters In Child Custody

If there are children involved, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) will apply. This law determines which state has jurisdiction over child custody issues. Generally, the state where the child has lived for the past six months (known as the “home state”) has jurisdiction.

For child support, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) can help ensure that a child support order is enforceable, even if the parent who is ordered to pay lives in another state. It’s important to consult with an attorney to understand how these laws apply in your case.

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Divorce Attorneys In Your Corner

Getting a divorce when your spouse lives in a different state may seem complicated, but it can be done. Oklahoma law provides specific guidelines to help you navigate this process. A knowledgeable family law attorney can be invaluable in ensuring your rights are protected. As a leading Oklahoma family law firm, we’re committed to guiding you through the complex journey of divorce. Call today and get a free consultation with an Oklahoma attorney. Dial (918) 743-2233 or contact us online.

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