Divorce

Divorce Law in Oklahoma

If you find yourself in a divorce situation, you are not alone. Over 55% of first-time marriages in the United States result in divorce and over 70% of second-time marriages also end in divorce. 


I handle divorce and child custody cases in Norman and Central Oklahoma. To file a divorce in Oklahoma, you must have been an actual resident, in good faith, of the state, for six (6) months prior to the filing of the petition. You must also be a resident of the county where you file for at least the past thirty days. 


The Petition for Divorce must state the grounds upon which the divorce is being sought. Oklahoma is a no-fault divorce state so therefore the most common allegation is incompatibility. This is established simply by a finding that you don’t get along.   


Property Distribution: Oklahoma is an "equitable distribution" state. This means the marital property is divided in an equitable fashion. Some assume it means property is always divided 50/50. Equitable does not always mean equal.  What is equitable and what is not is at the sole discretion of the court. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues. If the parties cannot agree, the court will decide the property award.


Property is classified as either separate or marital. Separate property is property owned prior to the marriage, acquired by gift or inheritance, or property acquired after the separation. Martial property is all property acquired during the marriage that is not separate property. It does not matter which spouse is on the title, if it was acquired during the marriage it is marital property. 


Debt is divided equitably between the parties. Some assume it means debt is always divided 50/50.  Not always the case. Debt is divided equitably at the discretion of the court.  What does equitably mean?  In short, whatever the judge says it means.


Restoration or Name Change: When a divorce is granted, the wife may be restored to her maiden or former name if she so desires.


Spousal Support: Not all cases involve spousal support. The obligation of one spouse to support the other financially for a temporary or permanent basis is decided on a case-by-case basis as agreed to by the parties or at the court's discretion. The classic example is one parent is a stay at home mother who supported her spouse through school and raised the kids while the husband worked. It can come up in other fact patterns as well,


Mediation Requirements: The court will refer all divorce and custody cases to mediation. A mediator is appointed to help the parties resolve their differences. Most cases are settled in mediation or at some point short of trial.    

Please keep in mind that the more amicable your relationship is prior to and/or during your divorce, the more likely you will lessen the emotional and financial burdens caused by ending your marriage. 


Child Custody: When minor children are involved in a divorce, the court makes every effort to lessen the emotional trauma for the children. If the parents are unable to reach an agreed custody arrangement, the court will establish a custody order at its discretion. The legal standard for custody awarded is the best interest of the child.   Pursuant to Oklahoma law, there is not a legal preference nor presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody. It really is a case by cases basis. 


Additionally, the court shall not favor one parent over the other based solely on the gender of that parent. With this said, mothers are awarded custody far more often than fathers. Fathers can and do get custody under the right circumstances, but in my view, it always is an uphill battle. The key to a successful custody case for a father is in making the case stand out as different from the typical case. This happens with the right set of facts and an attorney with extensive experience in custody cases.  

 

Child Support: Child support is determined by the Oklahoma Child Support Guidelines.  The calculations are based on the gross monthly incomes of both parents. Basically, it is a formula that is used to compute support. While the court has a huge amount of discretion in deciding custody and visitation issues, child support is different. There is not much wiggle room when it comes to child support. It is what it is.   


Remarriage  After the divorce is granted, neither party can marry again for a period of six months. The only exception to this rule is that the parties may get married again to each other at any time without restriction. 


To speak with a divorce lawyer - child custody lawyer in Norman, give me a call at 405-919-8355.  Learn the difference having the right attorney for the job can make for you.

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Pete D. Louden Attorney at Law

115 S. Peters Suite 8 D Norman, Oklahoma 73069

(405) 919-8355

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Friday: By appointment

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