Depending on the particular situation, there are several different types of Divorce available to Oklahoman’s. The existence of children from the marriage is the primary factor in choosing the type. Next is whether the case is agreed or high conflict as to the way the dissolution is handled. In those situations where there are children the case is more complicated. The biggest points of difference in those with children is custody and child support. Many times a case with children will start as disputed but after some arguing and before trial the parents agree. As to those cases without minor children, division of marital property and alimony are the primary points of concern.
Contested divorces, especially those involving minor children, can be extremely expensive. Knowing full well these expenses can be overbearing, sometimes couples approach their case looking for an easier and more agreeable way to end the marriage. While ethical guidelines discourage an attorney from representing both parties they can help prepare the documents for an agreed resolution.
If the parties have no children and agree on all issues, then the case finalizes quickly. Oklahoma, is a no fault state. This often times makes the process easier. In a no fault state the parties don’t have to prove a grounds for divorce. The only requirement is a statement of incompatibility.
At our office, we frequently deal with couples that are ready to move on with their separate lives. They simply want a fast and amicable dissolution of marriage. Often times these individual’s have first attempted to handle the legal footwork themselves, by looking to online sources for forms. Unfortunately this frequently results in a time consuming mess. While Oklahoma agreed cases are relatively simple, there are still many intricate legal procedures that need to be followed. That being said, if the parties have fully discussed the settlement terms and are in full agreement, the case can be resolved within a week.
Oklahoma, being a no-fault state, attempts to reduce the number of legal battles for cause. However, despite no longer needing grounds for divorce, we still receive calls from parties seeking dissolution for cause.
Some grounds for divorce in Oklahoma are:
1. Abandonment for one (1) year.
4. When the wife at the time of her marriage, was pregnant by another than her husband.
5. Extreme cruelty.
6. Fraudulent contract.
8. Habitual drunkenness.
9. Gross neglect of duty.
10. Imprisonment of the other party in a state or federal penal institution under sentence thereto for the commission of a felony at the time the petition is filed.
11. The procurement of a final divorce decree without this state by a husband or wife which does not in this state release the other party from the obligations of the marriage.
12. Insanity for a period of five (5) years
More Examples of Cause:
Seeking and receiving a divorce for grounds other than incompatibility are extremely rare in modern Oklahoma divorce proceedings. The grounds more frequently considered are adultery. Another frequent ground is the wife being pregnant by someone other than her husband.
If a woman, at the time of the marriage, was pregnant by someone other than her husband, this leads to a more complicated case. The parties must execute denials of paternity regarding the child. While this can be a basis for divorce, the determination of paternity may be far more important then the actual reason for the divorce.
The grounds of adultery is more frequent. While this can certainly be alleged as a grounds for divorce, it most often comes into play regarding the awarding of alimony or spousal support. The courts and judges presiding over Oklahoma divorce cases will normally only consider adultery, if the act directly corresponds to one of the spouses needs for alimony. For example, the husband in the divorce has been providing for the living expenses of his mistress, which in turn has resulted in the financial detriment of his wife.
While contested divorces may involve fighting over the grounds for the divorce, more often than not, the legal battle will focus on child custody, child support, property and asset division, debt allocation, and alimony.
Divorce with Children:
A divorce where the parties have minor children can be an emotional process. The difficulty arises when the parents who are at extreme odds with each other have placed the children in the middle of a fight that they do not need to be part of. Because the courts and judges handling Oklahoma divorces must put the best interest of the children first, Oklahoma divorce law requires a ninety (90) day wait period from the date of filing until the parties enter a final agreement.
The purpose of this ninety (90) day period is to allow the parties to “cool off”, take some of the emotion out of the proceeding and think about what is best for their children. Additionally several counties in Oklahoma, prior to finalizing a divorce, require that parents attend a type of parenting class on how to effectively parent after separating.
Special Rules For Tulsa County Family Law Court:
In Tulsa County, the parents seeking a divorce must attend a Parenting Planning Conference at the court house. The purpose of this conference is for the parents to learn about the rights of their children. Moreover to hopefully reach a temporary agreement regarding custody and visitation.
Child custody, visitation and child support are probably the most contested parts in an Oklahoma divorce. While the law prevents a parent in a divorce from withholding visitation or alienating the child from the other parent, it unfortunately happens. For instance a husband may leave the marital home to avoid further confrontation with his wife. This could result in the husband not having the proper living arrangements to have overnight visitation with his children or could result in the wife withholding visitation.
The law further establishes that no presumption for or against joint legal custody exists, excepting proven instances of domestic violence. Further, a party may withhold visitation because the less time a parent has with the children, the more child support they are ordered to pay. While the laws attempt to establish that the status quo regarding custody and visitation should be maintained, often times it comes down to a court proceeding to determine temporary orders regarding custody, visitation, and child support.
Check out this related Divorce article: mediation in Tulsa family law disputes
Contact a Tulsa Oklahoma Family Attorney:
If you have a family law question we can help. Divorce is a difficult process and you don’t have to go it alone. Whether the divorce involves children or not we know what to do. Call today for a Free consultation with on of our Oklahoma family law attorneys.
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