A brief guide to divorce in Oklahoma
Couples experiencing marital difficulties in Oklahoma who wish to separate temporarily or permanently should be aware of the following:
Oklahoma state divorce laws
At least one part of a couple filing jointly filing for divorce or the plaintiff must be a resident of the state for six months before filing for divorce in Oklahoma.
Grounds for divorce
Except in cases of no-fault divorce, there are ten reasons a plaintiff may claim cause for an at-fault divorce in Oklahoma:
• Abandonment of a year or longer
• A wife who is pregnant at the time of marriage with another man’s child without her husband being aware of it
• Physical and emotional cruelty
• Regular alcohol abuse
• A spouse’s imprisonment or conviction of a felony
• Neglect of marital duties
• Insanity lasting at least five years
Couples who are uncertain whether they wish to file for divorce in Oklahoma or who wish to separate without violating their religious beliefs may petition for legal separation. This is a court-binding agreement which sets out the terms of separation, including child custody, alimony and other concerns. There is no residency requirement to file for this kind of separation in Oklahoma.
Types of divorce
Couples who can agree upon all aspects of their separation can file a joint petition for an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma. If the spouses are unable to agree upon all details of their divorce or one party does not consent to separation, they will enter the court system to resolve their contested divorce.
No fault divorce
Couples may file for a no fault divorce in Oklahoma on grounds of incompatibility without pressing any charges of wrong-doing.
Steps in the divorce process
A petition must be filed in the district court where the person or couple filing for divorce has been a resident for at least 30 days. In cases of uncontested divorce where no children are involved, separation may be finalized in as little as 10 days. If children under the age of 18 are involved, a 90 day waiting period will apply.
If a defendant is served with notice of a divorce and decides to contest it, both parties will attempt to come to an agreement during the pretrial process. When no agreement can be reached, the couple will appear in court to let a judge decide on the terms of their separation.
Alimony may be awarded by the court through either money awarded monthly or all at once, or in the form of property.
One parent may be required to make regular monthly parents in support of their child. The earnings and property of both spouses will be taken into consideration.
Fathers’ and mothers’ rights
No custodial judgments are issued on the basis of gender in Oklahoma. The state’s guidelines require judges to consider which parent is most likely to allow their child to see the non-custodial parent as ordered.