How to File for Divorce in Oklahoma

File for divorce in Oklahoma

If you watch college sports in Oklahoma, you are certainly familiar with the “Boomer. Sooner.” chant.

The term comes from a land that witnessed a surge of immigrants who came to Oklahoma looking to claim uninhabited land made available by the U.S. Government. If you are rushing out of your marriage, you need to know about how to file for divorce in Oklahoma.

1. Residency

Oklahoma courts will only consider divorce if one spouse has been a resident of the state for at least six months.

2. Fault and no-fault grounds (for now)

Faults or no-fault grounds preferred?

Oklahoma still has the full range of historic “fault” grounds for divorce. This includes abandonment, adultery, impotency, a wife being pregnant with another man’s baby, cruelty, fraud, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect, imprisonment, and insanity.  

Until a few decades ago, the only way to get divorced was to prove that your spouse committed one of these faults.  

Today, most divorces will be granted on a “no-fault” basis.  

In Oklahoma, the no-fault ground for divorce is called incompatibility. It just means that each spouse wants to go their separate ways. If a couple has a minor child, the state of Oklahoma will require them to take a class on the impact divorce has on children. That said, if a couple wants to split up Oklahoma will let them, for now.

Believe it or not, there has actually been a movement in recent years to get rid of no-fault divorces. Some legislators have introduced bills that would say couples, married for more than ten years or have children, could not simply get divorced because they want to, they would have to prove a fault by their spouse.  

This would be a unique law in the country.  

Oklahoma also has a specific rule on the evidence needed for a divorce. It basically says that a divorce ground must be proved, though, simply an admission of a spouse can be enough proof.

3. Property division

A decree of divorce will include an order addressing property.  

Everything owned by one of the spouses before marriage will usually remain owned by that spouse, as will the gifts or inheritances each spouse got during the marriage. Anything the couple acquired during their marriage will be divided in a way the judge thinks is “just and reasonable.”

Most people are not comfortable with a judge dividing up their assets in such an arbitrary way, even though judges tend to divide the assets about equally. Plus, it is very expensive to have lawyers fighting in front of a judge about how things should be split.

For those reasons, most property division is done by agreement. Alimony (spousal support) is also allowed, and the judge can also earmark one parent’s separate property for the care of the couple’s children.

4. Child custody and support

Seek joint child-custody after divorce

Oklahoma requires couples seeking joint custody, which is most common, to file a plan for custody.  

A couple can submit a joint plan, which the judge will usually just review and approve. Else, each spouse can submit their own plan and the court will come up with a compromise. The state also issues child support guidelines that take into account the obligations of each parent, given their custody time.  

The guidelines are used to set an amount one parent must pay the other to help even out the costs. These guidelines are generally followed, though a court can deviate if there is a good reason.


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