The first thing you should think about when contemplating a breakup is if you are married. The two ways to get married are through a ceremony and “common law.” If you are married, the only way to stop your union is by filing for divorce in Oklahoma.
How can you tell if you are married under common law? If you and your spouse have presented themselves as married and you are both of legal marriageable age (that is, you are both single and have never been married to anyone else), then you are married by common law.
If you used the same last names, had a child together, told people you were married, leased an apartment as husband and wife, or filed joint tax returns, a judge will look at your activities to evaluate whether you had falsely represented that you were married.
Whether you reside in Oklahoma or somewhere else, getting a divorce will achieve two things for you and your spouse: it will end your marriage, and it will divide your assets and obligations. The subject of alimony may also come up if they have been married for a long time, and one of them may need assistance after the divorce because they are both unable to sustain themselves.
Child custody and support concerns must be settled if there are small children. In Oklahoma law, the phrases divorce and dissolution of marriage are interchangeable, albeit divorce is the more common term.
Residency Requirements For Divorce In Oklahoma
Either party must have lived in Oklahoma physically and in good faith for six months prior to filing the Petition in order to initiate a divorce or annulment of a marriage. If a party resided on a military station or reservation run by the US army within the state for the six months preceding the filing of the petition, they may file a petition for divorce or annulment of their marriage or may be sued for such a purpose.
The Petitioner (filing party) may file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Annulment in the district court of the county in which he or she has resided for 30 days prior to the filing of the Petition or in the county in which the Respondent (non-filing party) resides, provided that the action may be assigned for trial in any county within the judicial district by the chief judge of the district.
Although the court may waive the 90-day waiting period for a good reason and in the absence of a challenge from either party in a divorce action involving minor children, the court will typically not make a final decision until at least 90 days have passed since the date the Petition was filed.
During the 90-day waiting period, the court may order the parties to take part in and complete an educational program about the effects of separate parenting and co-parenting on children, the implications for visitation and conflict management, the development of children, separate financial responsibility for children, and such other instructions as the court deems necessary. For some reasons, such as excessive cruelty, desertion, insanity, jail, and the like, the court will not impose this condition.
In Oklahoma, parties to a divorce action are not permitted to remarry anybody other than their ex-spouse within six months of the day the divorce judgment was given unless the ex-spouse has passed away. A party may not cohabit in Oklahoma if they remarry someone else in another state within the preceding six months.
It is unlawful for any party to have a wedding or cohabitate with any other person in Oklahoma within 30 days of the day the final judgment is given on the appeal if an appeal is filed against the divorce decision.
These remarriage offenses are regarded as bigamy and cohabitation offenses as adultery.
The Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma
Both “fault-based” and “no-fault” divorces are legal in Oklahoma. In a no-fault divorce, neither spouse is required to show that the other’s bad behavior was the reason for the split. In a fault-based divorce, one or both spouses must prove that the other’s acts contributed to the breakdown of the marriage (were the “grounds for” the divorce).
No-Fault Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma
No-fault divorces in Oklahoma are resolved more quickly than fault-based divorces since there is no need for spouses to dispute or provide evidence of who initiated the divorce. When one of the spouses asserts that the union is “incompatible,” Oklahoma courts will give a no-fault divorce.
Fault-Based Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma
When filing for a divorce in Oklahoma on a fault-based basis, one or both spouses must provide the judge with evidence that the other spouse engaged in conduct that satisfied one of Oklahoma’s fault-based grounds for divorce. A divorce in Oklahoma may be granted on the basis of one or more of the following grounds:
- A 12-month abandonment;
- If the wife was carrying a child by a man other than her husband at the time of marriage;
- blatant harshness;
- a deceptive deal;
- compatibility issues
- a pattern of drinking;
- flagrant disregard for duty;
- Incarceration of the opposing party in a state or federal jail serving a term for a felony at the time the Petition is submitted;
- obtaining a final divorce judgment outside of Oklahoma by a husband or wife without the other party being released from the marriage’s duties;
- Five years of mental illness, with a dismal prognosis for recovery, and the insane person has been a patient at a private sanitarium or a state facility for the insane in Oklahoma or another state.
It will not serve as a reason to deny the divorce when it appears that both parties have committed equal wrongs. However, if a divorce is allowed in certain circumstances, it must be granted to both parties.
Marriages that are illegal or null:
- Between any degree of ancestors and descendants, between first cousins, between brothers and sisters (half and whole blood), between stepbrothers and stepsisters (unless the relationship is solely by marriage), between stepfathers and stepdaughters, and between stepmothers and stepson;
- Neither party has a parent or guardian’s or legal representative’s permission and is under the age of 18;
- Because of a pregnancy or the birth of an illegitimate child, either partner is under the age of sixteen and has not obtained permission from a court;
- Due to their age or level of knowledge, either partner cannot enter into the marriage.
Oklahoma recognizes as valid and binding a first cousin marriage performed in another state where such a degree of union is lawfully permitted. Both same-sex marriages performed in other states and marriages between people of the same sex are not permitted in Oklahoma.
An annulment is warranted in cases when one of the parties to the marriage has not been divorced for six months.
Fill Out the Necessary Forms
As part of a divorce, you might also need to complete and submit a number of other documents in addition to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Your specific situation will determine what you must send, but you might also be required to submit:
- Domestic Relations Cover Sheet
- Petition for Divorce
- Automatic Temporary Injunction Notice
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Financial Affidavits
- Child Support Schedule
- Child Support Worksheet
- Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service
- Notice of Final Hearing
- Decree of Divorce
When your documentation is finished, bring it to the clerk’s office of the county court where you currently reside and file it there. When doing so, filing fees will also need to be paid. Either you or your partner must have lived in Oklahoma for at least six months before filing for divorce in Oklahoma.
Consult the court staff to learn about any extra requirements if your spouse is a service member or lives out of state.
As soon as the divorce petition is filed, you must serve copies of it to your spouse in order to formally notify them of the divorce.
Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
After filing your application for divorce, you must give copies of all relevant documents to your spouse in Oklahoma. This is referred to as proof of service.
Both a county sheriff and a professional process server are options. The server will carry out the service and complete a proof of service form that will be submitted to the court. The time and date that the service was rendered will be included on the paper.
This is significant because, following that, a spouse will have 20 days to reply to the complaint. They have three options for their response: an uncontested response, a contested response, or a default response, which is no response to the Petition.
You can move forward with proof of service through divorce by publication if you are unable to locate your spouse to deliver the necessary documents. You must prove to the court that you have made reasonable and ongoing efforts to find your spouse but have been unsuccessful by submitting an Affidavit of Diligent Search. You will issue a divorce notice in a local newspaper if they approve it to satisfy the requirement for proof of service.
How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Oklahoma?
Depending on the county, there may be a minor variation in the divorce filing fee in Oklahoma, but it will generally be between $180 and $185. This filing does not involve any minors under the age of 18. If a process server or sheriff is needed to deliver the documents, there are also additional costs.
If you have kids, the court can order you to pay for obligatory parenting programs or hire a custody evaluator to help you work out child custody and visitation arrangements.
Can I file for a divorce online in Oklahoma?
You can get help with the paperwork you’ll need to file for divorce from several sources. You must physically file your documents at the nearby county courthouse in order to formally begin the divorce procedure.
You must also appear in court for a hearing before your divorce can be officially granted, and if everything goes according to plan, the judge will do so.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Oklahoma?
As long as there are no young children involved, it might take as little as 10 days after a petitioner files paperwork with the court for an uncontested divorce for the final dissolution to be finalized.
The state must hold off on issuing a final divorce order for 90 days after the divorce petition was filed if there are children involved. The 90-day waiting period gives parents the opportunity to go to marriage and family counseling to determine whether there is a chance to work out their problems and keep their marriage from dissolving.
The judge may also forego the 90-day waiting period if
- No one is against it.
- The court has “good cause” to think that even after therapy, it’s still doubtful that you and your partner will ever come to an agreement.
The 90-day waiting period may be waived by the court in accordance with the following circumstances:
- cruelly extreme
- A year or more of abandonment
- chronic intoxication
- Federal or state prison time for a felony.
- When a husband or wife obtains a final divorce decision outside of this state, the other party is still subject to the duties of the marriage in this state.
- For a minimum of five years, confinement in a state facility for the insane.
- A conviction for abuse of children.
- According to the Oklahoma Children’s Code, one or both of the parties to the divorce have contributed to the adjudication of a child as being deprived as a result of their acts, and one of the parties has failed to comply with the court-mandated service and treatment requirements.
How is my divorce affected if I am a member of the military in Oklahoma?
Military divorces and civil divorces in Oklahoma are somewhat similar. There are definitely noticeable changes in other areas, though.
Even when serving overseas, it is recommended to file for divorce in the United States. According to military divorce rules, service men and their wives are permitted to apply for divorce in:
- The home state of the spouse who is not in the military.
- The location of the service member’s current duty station.
- The state where the service member claims to have a permanent address.
Active military personnel is exempt from default judgments while performing their duties under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. This safeguard was established because it is generally believed that no service member should be preoccupied with legal matters like a divorce while actively serving in another state or nation. Despite the existence of this safeguard, a service member has the option of forgoing the possibility of postponing the divorce by agreeing to the documentation that permits the divorce to be finalized without a trial.
In Oklahoma, the same reasons apply for a divorce of a military couple as for a civilian couple.
The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), which was developed by the federal government in addition to state property division laws, regulates how military retirement benefits are calculated and split in divorce cases.
The specifics of this statute govern how the former spouse will be provided a direct payment of a portion of a military retiree’s compensation. The former spouse and the former service member must have been wed for at least 10 years while the military member was on active duty. This is a crucial requirement.
Child support and spousal support are handled differently than in a civil case, in addition to the distribution of assets. These awards are limited by federal law to a maximum of 60% of a servicemember’s pay and allowances.
If a former spouse fits the criteria of what is known as the 20/20/20 rule, they may be eligible for medical, commissary, exchange, and theatrical privileges under the Morale, Welfare, and Recreation program:
- The divorce, dissolution, or annulment took place after the former spouse had been wed to the service member for at least 20 years.
- When evaluating whether a military person is eligible for retirement pay, at least 20 years of service must have been rendered (the member does not have to be retired from active duty).
- At least 20 years of the member’s service that qualifies for retirement credit were spent married to the previous spouse.
If they satisfy specific qualifications, former spouses may also be eligible for TRICARE medical coverage.
Can I get a divorce in Oklahoma if I am pregnant?
Yes. If all other conditions are met, Oklahoma permits a spouse to file for divorce while she is pregnant.
A minimum of six months must pass before filing for divorce in Oklahoma for divorcing couples. The majority of couples that choose this choice are those in which the wife has recently given birth.
Can I file for divorce in Oregon without using a lawyer?
Yes. You can complete the divorce process in Oklahoma without a lawyer if your divorce is uncontested and you both agree on all settlement-related matters.
But it is advisable to seek assistance from an experienced family law attorney if you have unsolved conflicts in order to defend yourself legally.
How Do I Legally Separate in OK?
Oklahoma has a legal separation procedure, just like many other states. While legal separation is akin to divorce, the marriage is not truly ended by it.
Instead, when a couple is declared to be legally separated by the courts, decisions can still be made about things like property distribution, support, and custody even while the couple is still legally married. The couple’s eventual divorce may cause the ruling on the problems to alter.
In Oklahoma, a spouse does not need to have any reasons to ask for legal separation, similar to a “no-fault” divorce. There must only be “irreconcilable disputes.”
Legal separation has a few advantages, such as:
- Offers a chance for the couple to work out their differences before divorcing.
- As they work out many of the complex issues throughout the separation time, it enables a couple to be more prepared for the divorce.
- enables a couple to keep taking use of the advantages of legal marriage (tax, insurance, etc.)
While formal separation has advantages, it also keeps a couple in limbo. During the separation, neither spouse is free to live entirely independently of the other. Ultimately, the couple will have to decide whether to reconcile or file for divorce.
Being entangled in something you don’t comprehend accounts for a significant percentage of the emotional turmoil associated with divorce in Oklahoma. When a divorce is on the horizon, a number of anxieties and phobias are released, which may impair one’s capacity to consider the requirements of the children, as well as personal and financial matters.
If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on how you’ll handle the difficulties of ending a marriage, you can obtain an uncontested divorce (also known as “dissolution of marriage” in Oklahoma), as opposed to going to court and having a judge make the decision for you.
Unless your divorce is amicable, you should engage a lawyer. If there are minor children involved in your case, hiring an attorney is essential to making sure that your visitation and custody rights are correctly established.
Before granting a divorce, Oklahoma requires two waiting periods. There is a 90-day waiting period if either party is a parent of a minor kid. The waiting time is simply ten days if they do not share any small children.
There is equal ownership of all marital assets. Spouses in Oklahoma are eligible for joint tenancy or tenancy in common. There may be an unfair distribution of assets between spouses who are tenants in common. Additionally, the couple is equally responsible for paying off debts incurred from the shared property.