If you're thinking about or currently going through an Oklahoma divorce or legal separation, these resources can support you in making the best choices given your situation. It's important to note that you need to have resided in OK for at least six months before you can file for a divorce. Once you meet this residency requirement, you can file the petition in the county where either you or your spouse has lived for at least 30 days.
Below you will find options to help you do your own divorce or separation. This is too overwhelming for most people and you might want to retain an attorney to handle your case. For these situations, we offer the ability to locate qualified divorce lawyers. You can also read an overview of the applicable divorce laws, use the online child support computation service for figuring child support amounts, and learn about the educational classes for divorcing parents. You can also find various services to help you with your situation, such as Oklahoma domestic abuse resources and divorce support groups.
General Divorce Information from the Oklahoma Bar
Complete Online Divorce Statutes from OK State Court Network
Residency requirement: Either party in an action for divorce or annulment must be a resident for six months prior to filing the petition.
Venue for divorce, legal separation, or annulment: For an annulment or divorce, the petition is to be filed with the district court either in the county where the petitioner has been a resident for at least 30 days or the county where the respondent is a resident. A legal separation may be filed in the country where either spouse is a resident. A change in venue may be granted if the plaintiff has been gone from the state for more than 6 months.
Waiting period after initial filing: The court will not issue a final divorce order for at least 90 days after the petition has been filed if there are minor children involved, unless the court finds good cause to waive the waiting period. This waiting period allows parents enough time to complete the required parent education classes.
Divorce grounds: Oklahoma recognizes the following grounds for divorce:
Property division: Only marital assets and debts are considered when dividing the marital estate during a divorce. The separate property of each spouse is excluded from the distribution and includes assets and property owned prior to the marriage, gifts, inheritances, and property bought after a legal separation or the filing of a divorce petition. Everything else is considered marital property and will be divided in the divorce, including the debts acquired during the marriage.
If a couple can't reach an agreement on how to divide everything, the court will attempt to reach an equitable distribution. There are also specific rules concerning military compensation. The court has the discretion of awarding alimony payable in gross or in installments to reach a division which it deems just and equitable. The court may also set apart a portion of a spouse's separate estate to the custodial parent for the support of their children.
Alimony: Alimony is usually granted to offset a financial disparity between spouses after a divorce. When awarding alimony in Oklahoma, the court will designate which portion of the payment pertains to the division of property and which portion is designated as support for the spouse.
Payments which pertain to the division of property are used to offset a disparity in the property division and may not be modified in the future. Payments for the support of a spouse may be modified because of a change in circumstances and will usually end when the recipient spouse dies or remarries. Spousal support may also be reduced or terminated if the recipient spouse voluntarily cohabitates with a member of the opposite sex in a conjugal relationship.
Alimony cannot be based on a military service member's portion of any SMC award from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Disposable retired or retainer pay may be taken into consideration, depending on if the court determines it is the sole and separate property of the service member or the marital property of both spouses. If a portion of the military member's retirement pay is to be divided, the decree will use specific language regarding the percentage due to the other spouse.
Child Support: All child support orders in Oklahoma must comply with the support guidelines and be computed in accordance with the Child Support Guideline Schedule. The basic child support calculation uses the combined income of both parents and the number of children to be supported. The amount of support obligation is meant to cover the child's housing, food, clothing, public education expenses, transportation, and entertainment.
The calculation takes into consideration parenting time adjustments if the child spends more than 121 nights with the non-custodial parent or if the parents have a split-custody arrangement. Child care expenses related to either work or education for either parent are also used in the calculation of child support, as well as the cost of medical support and/or health insurance premiums for the child.
All support orders are to have a provision for income assignment unless the court finds good cause to not require income withholding or if the parties have reached a written agreement providing for an alternative arrangement. The support order must also contain provisions for medical support of the child.
An existing child support order may be modified due to a material change of conditions such as a change in parental income, changes in medical or child care costs, or if one of the children ages out. Child support normally continues until a child reaches 18 or graduates (but not past the age of 20). Since support orders are aggregate, a child aging out doesn't automatically modify the support amount. Instead the parents need to seek a modification reflecting the child's graduation.
Parenting education program: In all court actions involving children under the age of 18, both parents are required to complete an education program covering the impact of parental conflict on children and ways to work through the various issues to do what is best for the children
Child custody: When parents can't agree, the court will consider what will be in the best interests of the physical and mental and moral welfare of the child when determining custody. If a child is at least 12 years old, the court may take the child's preferences into consideration when determining the custody and visitation arrangements.
Custody may be awarded to either parent or to both parents jointly. The court requires the parents to file a plan for the continued care, custody, and control of their children with their divorce or legal separation. Such a plan needs to include, at a minimum, provisions for the child's living arrangements, visitation rights, child support obligations, school placement, and medical and dental care.
In disputed cases, if the court determines that domestic violence, stalking, or harassment has occurred, there is a rebuttable presumption that it is in the child's best interest to reside with the parent who is not the perpetrator of such behavior.
Restoration of former name: If either spouse's name was changed as a result of the marriage, they may have their maiden or former name restored when the dissolution of marriage is granted if so desired.
Restriction on remarriage: If a former spouse is still living, you must wait 6 months before you can get remarried, unless it is with your former spouse. It is also unlawful to get remarried in another state and cohabitate in Oklahoma during this six month period. A violation of the remarriage provision is deemed bigamy and a person violating the cohabitation restriction if guilty of adultery.
Chris L. Abernathy
406 S. Boulder Ave., Ste. 2900
Tulsa, OK 74103
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Judges may require parents with minor children to attend an educational program on the effects of marital separation on children. The most common programs throughout the state are "Co-Parenting through Divorce" and "Helping Children Cope with Divorce". These are workshops designed to help parents learn to recognize their children's reaction to the situation and discover ways to lessen the impact and co-parent more effectively.
Workshops are held throughout the state and you can get more information by contacting your local court system. Below are some of the various programs available:
Save on the cost of an attorney! Instead of having an attorney handle the legal paperwork, you can do it yourself. If both parties can agree on the major issues, getting an online divorce is an easier way to get your paperwork completed. 3StepDivorce is a comprehensive service that also provides various downloadable books on divorce to help with the process. Find out more about doing your divorce online today.
Online QDRO Preparation - In support and divorce cases, QdroDesk™ makes it easy and affordable to generate the required court documents and paperwork needed for the plan administrator to execute the distribution of retirement and pension plans.
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