Divorce can be a highly stressful and emotional time for all the parties involved. Trusting an experienced attorney to help you navigate this difficult time can be the best decision when it comes to child custody and asset protection. Before you decide to file for a divorce in Oklahoma, here are some things you should know.
Jurisdiction and Waiting Periods
- To file for a divorce in Oklahoma, you must be considered a resident of the State. The jurisdictional requirements are as follows: You must have lived in Oklahoma for at least six (6) months and have lived in the county you plan to file in for at least 30 days.
- Waiting Period
- A divorce in Oklahoma has mandatory waiting periods for the divorce to be granted. This waiting period is dependent on if there are marital children. A divorce where there are no children involved has a mandatory ten (10) day waiting period before the divorce will be granted. A divorce involving minor children has a 90-day waiting period before the divorce can be granted.
- Also of note, there is a waiting period if you wish to remarry in Oklahoma. After a divorce is granted, you must wait six (6) months to remarry unless you are remarrying your former spouse. This requirement is in place to provide time for reconciliation.
Uncontested Divorce v. Contested Divorce
- An Uncontested Divorce is when neither side is in disagreement about the divorce. These proceedings can go relatively quickly, but the mandatory waiting period would still apply. These proceedings typically only involve one hearing in which the proposed divorce decree is put in front of a judge to grant the divorce.
- Contested Divorce is where some or all parts of the proposed decree are not agreed upon by the parties. These types of divorces can be settled by mediation, or in some cases, they will be set for a trial in which the court would make the decisions on all child custody, marital assets and division, and spousal/child support.
- Mediation is a helpful tool used in many contested matters to help settle the conflicts outside of a courtroom. Mediation is a structured discussion where an impartial third party allows the parties to communicate their arguments and facilitates negotiations. While mediation is a helpful tool for conflict resolution, it can also be a money-saving alternative to trial.
FAQ’S about Divorce
- What are the grounds for a divorce in Oklahoma?
- Oklahoma is a “no-fault” divorce state meaning that you do not have to have specific reasoning for wanting the divorce. The grounds for the divorce can be “irreconcilable differences” or something similar. However, you can still file an “at-fault” divorce. Grounds for an “at-fault” divorce include (1) abandonment for one year, (2) adultery, (3) impotency, (4) when the wife at the time of the marriage was pregnant by another than her husband, (5) extreme cruelty, (6) fraudulent contract, (7) habitual drunkenness, (8) gross neglect of duty, (9) imprisonment for a felony, (10) procurement of an out-of-state divorce, and (11) insanity lasting five (5) years. A party typically pursues an “at-fault” divorce because it can entitle the petitioner to a more significant share of the marital assets or property and alimony payments.
- How long does a divorce take?
- Several factors play into this, such as document drafting, court availability, and the mandatory waiting period. The wait can become more indefinite if the parties are not in agreement. A contested divorce proceeding can stretch months or even years to settle. To better understand the time frame that would apply in your specific situation, it is best to contact an attorney to discuss.
- How is property divided in a divorce?
- Oklahoma utilizes the “equitable division” doctrine for property division. Real and personal property that has been acquired by the parties jointly during the marriage is divided between the parties. Oklahoma divides marital property equitably, but that does not necessarily mean equally. District courts are vested with broad discretion in making division decisions. The courts must also include the parties’ debt when deciding how the property should be divided. There is no exact formula for the courts to apply to create a just and reasonable division. To better understand how property might be divided in your specific situation, it is best to contact an attorney to discuss.
- What happens to the children during a divorce?
- Often the parents agree which parent should have custody of the children. When that happens, custody does not become an issue for attorneys or the court. However, if the parents disagree, custody can become the most emotional part of a divorce. Custody of the children can be determined temporarily at the beginning of divorce proceedings and the end of the proceedings by the final divorce decree. The standard for deciding who gets custody of children is known as the “best interest” test. This test requires courts to consider what appears to be in the best interests of the children’s physical, mental, and moral welfare.
If you need help with your divorce or child custody case, please give us a call at (405) 310-9653 for your FREE consultation.