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Oklahoma Divorce Facts
When going through a divorce in in Oklahoma, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Oklahoma should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Oklahoma Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Oklahoma Divorce Professional.
In Oklahoma, either the petitioner--the spouse who files for divorce--or the respondent must have established residence for six months before the filing date. State law also allows a spouse who is a resident of a U.S. army post or military reservation in the state for six months to file for divorce or be sued for divorce. The suit is filed in the county where the petitioner resides, as long as he or she has lived there for at least 30 days.
Oklahoma allows no-fault and fault divorces. A no-fault divorce happens when the marriage simply breaks down due to incompatibility; neither spouse did anything to break the marriage contract. However, a petitioner can choose to file on grounds of fault as well, including adultery, impotency, abandonment (for one year), insanity (for five years), extreme cruelty, imprisonment, habitual drunkenness, gross neglect, when the marriage was devised by fraud, when the wife was pregnant by another man at the time of marriage, or when a prior divorce is not recognized by the state.
Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state, meaning it divides property by a fairness standard rather than equally. Oklahoma courts strongly encourage parties to agree on property distribution outside of court; otherwise, the court will divide the property for them. Separate property that each spouse owned before the marriage continues to be his or hers after the divorce.
In Oklahoma, the court may give the spouse with physical custody of children a larger part of the couple's marital estate. This can be paid in a lump sum or through regular payments that the obligor makes to the county clerk, who in turn mails them to the obligee.
Courts decide alimony on a case-by-case basis. There is no definitive rule on how long a marriage must last before alimony can be awarded. If the parties cannot come to an agreement themselves, the court determines both the length and amount of alimony to be paid. In general, courts apply a three-year to one-year ratio awarding alimony payments; e.g., for every three years of marriage, one year of alimony is ordered. However, courts may impose different alimony-award time measurements.
The court always considers the child's best interests when making child custody determinations.
In Oklahoma, courts are required to take into consideration which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continued contact with the other, regardless of gender.
Child support is based on a Child Support Guideline Schedule. Oklahoma uses the Income Shares Model, which takes into account each parent's gross income. Oklahoma courts deviate from the standard computation only if one parent is paying dental or medical insurance for the child, when parents have joint custody, or when one parent pays child care expenses or compensates for a child's special medical, educational or transportation needs. If there is a disparity between the two parents' respective incomes, the parent who earns more money may pay child support to the other.
Oklahoma recognizes common law marriages.
In Oklahoma, neither spouse whose former spouse lives in the state may remarry, or even live with another person, within six months of the date of the final decree.
Courts encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of parenthood, and they award custody based on the children's best interest when parents cannot agree. When determining the best interest of the child, the court considers the relationship the child has with each parent. Oklahoma does not prefer one parent to another on the basis of gender.
Oklahoma recognizes several ways in which alimony payments can be stopped or modified. If the party paying alimony dies, Oklahoma law states that all alimony terminates. If the former spouse voluntarily cohabits with a member of the opposite sex, the party paying alimony can petition for modification of the alimony judgment. In such cases the court has the ability to decrease or terminate future support payments, if evidence is shown that a substantial change in finances has occurred.
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