Getting Divorced In Oklahoma doesn’t have to be so difficult. Perhaps you have reached the breaking point in your marriage and are headed for a divorce. What you might not know is that each state has different requirements that you must follow to get one. There are also issues that could come up which may turn a seemingly simple divorce into a complex, contested matter that involves disputes over assets, alimony, child support, child custody and more. Here’s a quick rundown of divorce in Oklahoma and what you could do if you need to get one.
Grounds For Divorce In Oklahoma: Fault-Based v. No-Fault
First of all, getting divorced In Oklahoma and its procedure is only applicable to those who are legally married and who have grounds for divorce. Grounds for a fault-based divorce include: abandonment for at least one year; adultery (cheating); imprisonment because of a felony conviction; impotency; habitual drunkenness; extreme cruelty; gross neglect of duty; fraud; or insanity for at least five years. However, in most cases, divorces end in Oklahoma without either party being at fault – hence the term “no-fault divorce”. Specifically, the grounds for a no-fault divorce are that you and your spouse are no longer compatible with each other.
Residency, Waiting Period For Divorce In Oklahoma
In addition to having grounds for divorce, you have to have been a resident of Oklahoma for at least six months prior to filing. Also, you file for divorce in either the county where you have lived for the last thirty days or the county where your soon-to-be ex-spouse resides.
If you meet the residency requirements, you have to wait ten days from the filing date for the court to grant your divorce. Notably, if you have children, then you will have to wait at least three months from the filing date; however, you might be able to get around this requirement as long as both you and your spouse sign a waiver.
Procedure For Getting Divorced In Oklahoma
As the person moving for the divorce (the “petitioner”), you have to file a Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage with the court. This is basically a formal request for the court to end your marriage via divorce. Along with that petition, you have to provide a written declaration known as an affidavit where you attest to the truth of the information contained in your petition.
Oklahoma law requires you to serve your non-filing spouse (the “defendant”) with copies of the divorce paperwork including a Notice of Summons. This typically entails the use of a process server who can hand deliver the documents. However, your spouse might simply agree to file with the court an Acceptance and Waiver of Service, which is typical with most uncontested divorces.
Once the case has been filed, the next phase is the discovery process which is where you and your spouse turn over information relevant to the divorce (e.g. your and your spouse’s assets and debts). Not only that, but you and your spouse may be legally required to answer each other’s questions through interrogatories. In discovery, you identify areas of disagreement between you and your spouse that might need to be decided through a hearing.
It is also possible at the discovery stage to enter into settlement negotiations with your spouse. In fact, if you and your spouse are in agreement regarding your issues, you could enter into a settlement agreement in lieu of having the court make the call. Even if you disagree with your spouse as to certain issues, you could elect to mediate them. Mediation is a lower cost alternative to resolving a dispute, and it involves a neutral third party who guides you and your spouse to come to your own resolutions.
If you resolve your issues with your spouse through an executed settlement agreement, or a court otherwise issues one or more orders to resolve those issues, then the final step is for the court to issue a divorce decree. This decree officially terminates your marriage and it identifies the duties and rights of you and your spouse relating to the divorce.
Central Issues In Divorce
- Division Of Assets And Debts
Once you file for divorce, you will be temporarily prohibited from disposing of your property or destroying it, so think twice before transferring all of your money to the Cayman Islands. A chief aim of the divorce process is to divide up property between you and your spouse that you both obtained while married to each other. It does not matter who has title to the assets for purposes of divvying them up between you. Note that property you acquire before marriage or through inheritance or gift is considered separate property which you keep. If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide up your assets and debts, then the court might have to step in and make the call.
- Custody, Visitation
The court will make a determination as to who gets custody of the children that you and your spouse have together. You could agree with your spouse in advance as to a custody arrangement. If that is not possible, then the court can determine what is in the best interests of the child through holding a trial or by less intensive means such as mediation.
Notably, the parent who does not have custody of the children still has certain rights to visit them. For example, the non-custodial parent could arrange to see the children every other weekend or for a prolonged period in the summer. Keep in mind that the court could deny or restrict visitation in certain instances including where you are deemed a threat to the child or have a substance abuse problem.
For those people getting divorced In Oklahoma, you typically have to make an appearance at a parenting plan conference to go over information regarding custody and visitation among other things relating to your finances and property. During the divorce proceedings, you and your spouse could come to a temporary agreement as to parenting which could be memorialized in an order.
- Child Support, Alimony
The non-custodial parent has to pay for child support based on their income. Notably, the non-custodial parent could also be responsible for a portion of the health insurance, medical expenses and other costs pertaining to the child. Alimony, on the other hand, is money that you pay to the other spouse for support, or vice versa. The court takes a number of things into account for alimony, including your and your spouse’s income, length of marriage, standard of living and needs. Unlike with child support, a court is not required to order alimony.
Tulsa Oklahoma Divorce Attorney
Getting divorced In Oklahoma can go a couple of different ways. Your divorce could be a relatively straightforward process in which you and your spouse have no contested issues. However, it could become somewhat ugly if drama ensues over things like the division of assets, alimony and child custody. Kania Law Office has extensive experience helping clients with divorce and other family law matters. Our knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys can advise you, drafts agreements that fit your needs, file the appropriate paperwork with the court, and attend hearings or other mediations as required to get you to the finish line. To get the process started, reach out today to Kania Law Office at (918) 743-2233 or contact us online for a free consultation.