- Legal Overview
- Divorce Process
- Residency Requirements
- Grounds for Divorce
- Division of Property
- Spousal Support
- Child Custody
- Child Support
Divorce in Oklahoma requires that you have been resident for at least 6 months. There are many grounds upon which to obtain a divorce in Oklahoma, however the most common is a divorce based on incompatibility of the spouses. Read our detailed legal summary of Oklahoma including grounds, residency, child custody, mediation, child support, alimony, property, settlement agreements, and annulments.
A divorce settlement is one in which the parties resolve all of their differences between themselves and without the necessity of a court hearing. It is then necessary to ask the court to approve the terms of their agreement. Divorce settlements reduce the bitterness that may exist between the parties and benefit everyone. The agreement is reduced to a Decree of Divorce entered by the Court.
The divorce is initiated by filing a petition. The petition should be filed in the court in the county where one of the spouses has been a resident for 90 days. Also, at least one spouse must have lived in Oklahoma for at least six months. There is a 90 day waiting period before a divorce can be granted if there are minor children involved. If no children there is only a 10 day waiting period.
Grounds for Divorce
A divorce in Oklahoma may be granted upon one of several grounds. The vast majority of divorces are granted on a no-fault basis, meaning that the marriage is beyond any reasonable hope of reconciliation. A divorce may also be granted for adultery, abandonment, fraud, cruelty, imprisonment, conviction of a felony, living apart, and others.
Division of Property
In the divorce decree, the court must divide all the marital property. Marital property is all the property acquired during the marriage by the industry of the husband and wife. How property is titled not determinative of its character. Separate property is that owned before marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance before or during the marriage. The court cannot give the separate property of one spouse to the other spouse, except with the owner’s agreement. Therefore, the court must decide whether each item is marital or separate property.
Generally, property acquired and debts incurred during the separation but before the divorce is final are considered separate property. Unless proven otherwise, the court will presume that all property owned by the parties is marital property. No agreement by the parties and no court order in a divorce proceeding can affect the right of creditors to attempt collection from either party. However, a court can order one party to pay particular debts.
In Oklahoma there are two types of alimony (1) support alimony and (2) property division alimony. Support alimony is awarded to provide the receiving party with some level of financial assistance while they transition post-divorce. Support alimony can be paid as a lump sum or through installments. Support alimony may be modified based on a showing of a permanent substantial change of circumstances. While some states have formulas on how to arrive at an alimony award Oklahoma has a guideline.
The person seeking alimony must prove (1) a need for alimony and (2) that the payor has the ability to pay. It is in the Court’s discretion as to amount and duration of the alimony. Property division alimony is ordered in cases where the property is disproportionate. The property division alimony is paid to offset the difference and in not modifiable.
In deciding child custody and visitation, the court considers the best interests of the child. The court will consider such factors as: parental abilities; emotional and physical; emotional and physical needs of the child; the desires of the child; plans of the parents; stability of the homes; acts or omissions of the parent. In Oklahoma custody has two components: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody concerns the decision making authority for the child, while physical custody concerns the amount of time the child spends with each parent.
Under a sole custody arrangement one parent has the sole decision making authority for the child and has physical custody of the child, while the other parent has visitation time with the child. Joint custody provides the parties share decision making authority and time with the child.
Oklahoma follows the income sharing approach when computing child support calculating child support based on the combined gross income of the parties. The law contains a child support guideline which is used to determine the amount of child support. Both parties will be responsible for payment of the child’s health insurance premium and day care through the child support amount.
Child support orders generally continue until the child reaches age 18, but can last longer under certain conditions. All court orders dealing with children from a divorce are modifiable if there is a material change in circumstances. The court in Oklahoma cannot order a parent to pay for college and in Oklahoma there is not a child support cap.