The dissolution of a marriage through divorce is often a complex process involving personal matters and financial considerations. Whether you are thinking about getting a divorce or in the beginning stages of filing for divorce in Oklahoma, this step-by-step guide from our Norman divorce lawyer is an essential starting point to understand the process.
What is the Residency Requirement for Filing for Divorce in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma law requires that to file for divorce, one of the parties in the marriage must be a resident of Oklahoma for six months before filing.
Additionally, residency determines in which county a person is allowed to file their divorce petition. By statute, a person filing for divorce must file it in the county where they live. Additionally, they must have resided in that county for 30 days before filing. They can also file in the county in which their spouse resides.
What Are the Grounds for Divorce?
An uncontested divorce is one in which the couple has no disputes over the divorce, custody, or property and debt division. This means they agree they need a divorce, and they agree on all the terms of the divorce.
Most uncontested divorce cases in Oklahoma are filed according to a "no-fault" ground. Grounds for divorce describe the reason for which one party is filing for divorce. For no-fault cases, couples will file for divorce on the ground of incompatibility.
If one spouse did something to lead to the marriage ending, the other spouse could file for a fault-based divorce. Fault-based grounds for divorce include:
- Abandonment for one year;
- Pregnancy of wife by another at the time of marriage;
- Extreme Cruelty;
- Fraudulent contract;
- Habitual drunkenness;
- Gross neglect of duty;
- Imprisonment under a felony sentence; and
While these grounds still exist, they are not generally used, and courts discourage their use.
How to File for Divorce in Oklahoma
A divorce must be filed in either the county in which the petitioner has resided for the 30 days immediately preceding the filing or in the county in which the respondent resides at the time of the filing of the divorce. When spouses file separate actions in counties that each have a proper venue, the county in which the first petition for divorce was filed in the proper county to adjudicate the divorce.
The Divorce Petition
If you meet the residency requirements, you can file a petition for divorce, called a "Petition for Dissolution of Marriage," with your county. This form must be given to the other spouse by mail or in person (this is called "service").
The Discovery Process
If you and your spouse disagree on any issues in your divorce, there will be a time of discovery.
During the discovery process, you, your spouse, and your attorneys will:
- Identify issues, assets, debts, and witnesses
- Exchange information, including tax documents, health care information, bank statements, credit card statements, etc.
- Ask and answer interrogatories (questions asked of you)
During the discovery process, it is important to provide information in a timely and organized manner. This will not only help speed up the process but will also keep your costs down. In some cases, we will work with a respected private investigation firm to get all the necessary information from the other party.
Settlement Discussions & The Divorce Settlement Agreement
During the discovery process, you or your spouse and/or your attorneys may meet to discuss the terms of your divorce and determine whether you agree on certain issues. If you and your spouse agree on all the issues involved in your divorce, you can complete and file a divorce settlement agreement.
If you do not agree, you may need to attend one or more court hearings. Keep in mind that there is some give and take during settlement negotiations, but you will have more control over the final outcome than if you ask a judge to make the decisions for you.
How Long Does is the Divorce Process in Oklahoma?
The length of time necessary to complete a divorce depends on the complexity of the disputes between the couple and whether they have children or not. Again, an uncontested divorce for a couple with no children can be accomplished quickly within as few as ten days.
A divorce in which there are minor children involved has a 90-day minimum requirement from the point in time when it is first filed until it can be finalized. If there are disputes over custody, money, and debts, it can take much longer to go through all the litigation processes and a trial to get the divorce finished.
A divorce is final as soon as the decree is signed by the judge and filed. Most states have a waiting period after a divorce is granted before a person can legally remarry, but it is not enforced. Oklahoma family law requires a six-month waiting period before you can remarry unless you are remarrying your former spouse.
Contact an Oklahoma Family and Divorce Lawyer
Are you looking for a Norman divorce attorney who will protect your best interests during your divorce? Our team at Redhawk Law has the experience needed in Oklahoma law to secure the outcome you deserve.
Call us today at (405) 266-5072 to speak to our Norman divorce lawyer today.