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A divorce proceeding in Oklahoma begins with the submission of a completed Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to a district county clerk.
You must also provide the following documents
Make at least two copies of all submitted documents. You must file the Petition and supporting documents with the Clerk’s Office of the county court in the county of residence. You must also pay the appropriate fees at the time of filing.
Under Oklahoma law, you must provide copies of all documents related to the divorce to your spouse.
Once your spouse has been served, they must respond to the Petition within 20 days. These responses are classified as
If your spouse does not provide any response to the divorce petition, then the judge will assume that the Respondent has abdicated any right to participate in the case. The judge will probably grant many or all of the requests by the petitioner regarding child custody, support and property distribution in the original petition.
If your spouse files a Response with the court but agrees with all of the details in the petition, this is considered an uncontested dissolution of marriage.
If your spouse files a Counterclaim to the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage which disputes various aspects of the Petition, then the court will likely have to step in and make decisions regarding contested issues. The court will issue summons to both parties to attend a hearing, which will identify disputed issues, and if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, you will proceed to a trial.
Contested Divorce (High Cost)
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the major issues in how your marriage should be dissolved, you will probably need to hire an attorney to represent you in this complex divorce proceeding.
Uncontested Divorce (Low Cost)
In Oklahoma, there are many low-cost alternatives to a contested divorce.
Self-Representation (Lowest Cost)
If you and your spouse can agree to a settlement prior to going to trial, it will dramatically reduce the cost related to the divorce and minimize stress to you and your family. That is why you should do everything you can to resolve any major conflicts with your spouse prior to beginning the divorce process. MyDivorcePapers.com can offer guidance and the forms necessary to complete this process with minimal cost and effort.
Alternative Dispute Resolution (Medium Cost)
The state of Oklahoma offers couples who are considering a divorce the opportunity to use Alternative Dispute Resolution services. Mediators are independent, conflict resolution professionals with expertise in resolving personal issues. Although they may not have the legal authority to force a couple to remain married, mediators often produce compromises that minimize animosity and expedite the divorce process. A court may appoint or recommend a mediator before or during a divorce proceeding.
Divorce Trial (Highest Cost)
In cases where you and your spouse cannot agree on major issues, the judge will schedule a trial that could go on for several days.
The major points of contention in most divorce cases involve issues of property division, child custody or spousal support. If you and your spouse fail to come to an agreement on these issues, you should know how Oklahoma courts often rule.
Oklahoma bases its property distribution upon the principle of equitable division, which allocates property fairly but not necessarily equally. Oklahoma courts consider many factors when dividing marital property (separate property is owned before the marriage and is usually not at dispute) including:
Once the marital property and debts are identified, they are assigned a monetary value, usually by an independent appraiser. The court will total the assets minus liabilities to determine the net worth of the couple.
Division of property may occur in several ways. Oklahoma courts favor allowing spouses to divide marital property, but they will step in if no resolution can be had. Indivisible assets may be provided to one spouse, while another asset of equivalent value is assigned to the other spouse; or they may be sold with profits divided accordingly.
As in most states, Oklahoma determines joint or sole child custody based on the best interests of the child. The judge will consider many factors including:
Oklahoma does not grant preference based on parent’s gender and race or the form of education the child will receive. If one parent is granted sole custody, the court will decide the other parent’s visitation privileges. The courts generally do not defer to the desires of the child, unless they are at least 12 years of age, and only if they are expressing an “intelligent preference.”
In Oklahoma, spousal support is not mandatory and a judge may award it depending upon several factors:
Oklahoma allows courts to institute spousal maintenance which is financial support only for the duration of the divorce proceedings. Courts prefer to grant temporary alimony, except in cases where one spouse is unable to work due to poor health and spousal support may go on indefinitely. Most judges prefer to grant alimony from one-third to one-half the length of the marriage. Alimony may be in the form of a lump sum or monthly installments. Oklahoma does not consider fault on the part of one spouse or the other in determining alimony agreements.
An alimony order may be altered or terminated if the recipient begins to cohabitate with a romantic partner.
If a trial is scheduled, then you and your spouse must go to trial to resolve any unresolved issues. Following these courtroom proceedings, the judge will issue a judgment.
If the divorce is uncontested, the court will decide to grant the divorce with or without a hearing. A hearing may be required, but the judge may require only one spouse to appear and confirm the details of the divorce agreement.
After the trial or hearing, the judge will then issue a Decree of Dissolution of Marriage, finalizing the divorce.
Optional Resource: https://oklaw.org/issues/family/divorce