What you need to know about divorce in Oklahoma City
Divorce, it can be a confusing, emotional and difficult for many families. Whether it is a relief of a crisis for you, it is important to find the right legal help. Let an Oklahoma City divorce lawyer answer your divorce questions and make sure you have the information you need to make smart decisions about your Oklahoma City divorce.
Are you eligible to receive spousal support? How much child support are your children going to receive after the divorce? How will your property and debts be divided? These are important divorce questions which should be answered before filing for an Oklahoma City divorce.
Filing for divorce in Oklahoma City does not have to be a complicated process, but given the heightened emotions, many people may need advice from a professional. Do not try to do this alone. Contact a divorce lawyer in Oklahoma City today.
Children and Divorce in Oklahoma City
Regardless of how carefully you plan and attempt to protect your children, divorce is almost always emotionally difficult. Negotiating a parenting plan with your spouse may be one way to reduce the devastation and allow both your and your spouse the ability to continue to play an role in the lives of your children.
There are several different types of child custody arrangements in an Oklahoma City divorce. The courts may allow joint custody arrangements where the children live with each parent at specific times or sole custody arrangements where the children live with one parent but the other parent has an arranged visitation schedule. Child custody is only determined after the court reviews a variety of factors to determine what arrangement they believe will be "in the best interest of the child". Joint custody is generally the preferred child custody arrangement after an Oklahoma City divorce, but the court will not allow joint custody if they determine it is dangerous to the child.
Oklahoma City courts will evaluate a variety of factors to determine the best child custody arrangement including:
- The ability of the parents to allow their child continuous, frequent and positive contact with the other parent
- Whether either parent has been convicted of sex crimes or whether they live with a sex offender
- Whether there is a history of domestic or child abuse by either parent
- Whether both parents are able to meet the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of the child.
- The moral fitness of each parent
Child custody decisions in an Oklahoma City divorce can not be made based on the parent's gender or race. Child custody cases vary, and the information provided above is general in nature. Contact an Oklahoma City divorce lawyer for specific information about your case. More information about child custody laws in Oklahoma can also be found by reviewing the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 43, Sections: 109 and 112 and Title 10, Sections: 21.1.
Oklahoma City Child Support Laws
Child support guidelines have been implemented throughout the United States to ensure that children are financially supported by their parents in a separation or divorce. Child support is not voluntary and is required under the law. Oklahoma City parents who fail to provide child support after an Oklahoma City divorce can face very severe legal consequences.
Oklahoma has guidelines which determine the amount of child support which must be paid by parents in an Oklahoma City divorce. The amount calculated is based on each parent's adjusted gross income which is added together to get the total combined gross income for the family. Each parent's percentage share of the combined gross monthly income will establish the parent's share of the base child support payment amount. The amount calculated using the Oklahoma state's guidelines is generally accepted as the correct amount, but Oklahoma City courts may also consider the following factors prior to making their final child support determination in an Oklahoma City divorce:
- What is the income and means of the parents?
- What assets and property do the parents own?
How long do you have to pay child support? Oklahoma statute mandates that child support is paid until your child reaches 18 years of age, turns 19 or graduates from high school. If you have multiple children it may be necessary to get the child support payment amount readjusted when each child turns 18 years of age. Additional information can be found in the Oklahoma Statutes Annotated; Title 43, Sections 110, 112, 118, 119, 121, and 136 and Title 56, Sections 235.
Enforcing Oklahoma City Child Support
What if you are the custodial parent and are not receiving child support from the non-custodial parent? Child enforcement agencies have been established throughout the United States to help parents with various child support services. In Oklahoma the Oklahoma Child Support Services (OCSS) has been established to help Oklahoma City families with the following:
- Helping locate absentee parents
- Establishing paternity
- Enforcing Oklahoma City child support payments for married, divorced or separated parents
- Establishing Oklahoma City child support and medical support orders
- Modifying Oklahoma City child support orders
- Helping other states obtain child support from Oklahoma City parents
- Helping other countries obtain child support from Oklahoma City parents
- Distributing Oklahoma City child support payments
If you have a child and the non-custodial parent is not providing support to you, you can get the help you need from the Oklahoma Child Support Services (OCSS). Oklahoma's child support laws and the method for computing child support may vary from other states. Contact a Divorce lawyer in Oklahoma City if you have questions about the amount of child support you may be entitled to receive or may be forced to pay.
Oklahoma City Divorce Laws
All states, including Oklahoma, have instituted laws which determine the reasons that couples may file for divorce in their state. Spouses who wish to file for a divorce in Oklahoma City or any other city throughout the state of Oklahoma must list the grounds for their divorce on their petition for dissolution of their marriage and must have evidence to support their claim.
Filing the Petition for Divorce in Oklahoma City initiates the divorce process and allows the court to terminate the marriage. Divorces in Oklahoma City may be granted on the following grounds:
- No-Fault Grounds in the state of Oklahoma
- Incompatibility - The couple concedes the marriage is irretrievably broken, and there is no chance of marital reconciliation.
- Fault Grounds in the state of Oklahoma
- Gross neglect of duty
- Habitual drunkenness
- Mentally insane for at least five years
- Abandonment for at least one year
- Adultery - Either spouse has had sexual relations with another person other than their spouse.
- Impotence - Either spouse is unable to consummate the marriage.
- Pregnancy by another man - The wife is pregnant with another man's child and it was unknown at the time of the marriage.
- Extreme cruelty
- Imprisonment for a felony conviction
Contact an Oklahoma divorce lawyer for more information about divorcing in Oklahoma City. Additional information about filing for divorce in Oklahoma City can also be found in the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 43, Section: 101.
Oklahoma City Divorce Residency Requirements
Oklahoma has established divorce residency requirements which couples must meet prior to filing for divorce in Oklahoma City or any other city in the state of Oklahoma. Failure to meet these requirements will allow the Oklahoma City courts to dismiss the divorce petition.
Oklahoma City divorce residence requirements are as follows:
- The Oklahoma City divorce petitioner or the Oklahoma City divorce defendant in a divorce action must be a resident in the state of Oklahoma for 6 months preceding the filing of the divorce petition; or
- The Oklahoma City divorce petitioner or Oklahoma City divorce defendant, who has been a resident of any U.S. Army post within Oklahoma for 6 months preceding the filing of the divorce petition, may bring an action of divorce.
Most Oklahoma City divorce petitions are filed in the Oklahoma City County where the petitioner lives. More information about Oklahoma City or divorce residency requirements for all other cities in Oklahoma can be found in Oklahoma Statutes, Title 43, Sections: 102 and 103.
What if you do not meet the divorce residency requirements? You have several options:
- Attempt reconciliation with your spouse.
- Wait to file your Oklahoma City divorce petition until you do meet the requirements of the state of Oklahoma.
- Ask your spouse to file the Oklahoma City divorce petition, if they meet the divorce residency requirements.
- File in the state where you do meet the divorce residency requirements.
Alimony in Oklahoma City
Oklahoma City spouses who file for divorce may be entitled to alimony (which is more commonly referred to as spousal support). Spousal support in an Oklahoma City divorce can be permanent or temporary and may be paid until the requesting spouse dies or remarries (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 134(B) (1992)).
Unlike child support, spousal support payments are not dictated by state guidelines, but rather the courts have discretion to determine the duration and the amount of spousal support in an Oklahoma City divorce which will be paid. This decision is made only after the court evaluates a variety of factors including:
- Can the requesting spouse work outside of the home and maintain their domestic obligations such as caring for a minor child?
- What are the financial needs of each spouse?
- What types of financial contributions has each spouse made to the family?
- What are the vocational and educational skills of each spouse?
- What is the employability of each spouse?
- What is the earning capacity of each spouse?
- What are the financial liabilities of each spouse?
- What is the duration of the marriage?
- Can the paying spouse make spousal support payments and maintain their current standard of living?
- How old is each spouse?
- What is the mental and physical health condition of each spouse?
- What is the standard of living in which each spouse is accustomed?
- Did the requesting spouse sacrifice any educational or employment opportunities to support the paying spouse?
- Which spouse contributed to the divorce through their misconduct (adultery, extreme cruelty, abandonment)?
- Any other factor the Oklahoma City court deems relevant
Spousal support can be a contentious legal battle. Divorce attorneys in Oklahoma can answer your spousal support questions. More information about spousal support payments and calculations can be found in Oklahoma Statutes, Title 43, Sections: 121 and 136.
Legal Separation in Oklahoma City
The state of Oklahoma will allow couples to live apart and separate or "legally separate" as an alternative to filing for an Oklahoma City divorce. The benefit of legal separation is it will allow couples to remain married and enjoy the benefits of marriage while living apart from one another. This arrangement may be preferable for couples who do not want to divorce for religious reasons, who want to maintain their spouse's health insurance coverage or who want to attempt reconciliation.
Legal separation in Oklahoma will also allow spouses to create a legal agreement which can outline the legal process to deal with common separation issues such as: property distribution, child custody, child support and alimony payments. Legal separation in Oklahoma City is not the same as a divorce, and couples can not remarry until they have filed for and received a legal Oklahoma City divorce. Contact an Oklahoma City divorce lawyer if you are considering filing for legal separation.
Annulment in Oklahoma City
Annulments can be filed in Oklahoma City and any other city throughout the state of Oklahoma if couples meet very specific annulment requirements. Annulments, unlike a divorce, do not terminate a marital contract; it is as if the marriage never occurred.
Grounds for annulments in Oklahoma City annulment include:
- Underage Marriage - Either spouse in the marriage was too young to consent to the marital contract.
- Incest - The spouses are too closely related by blood to wed.
- Impotency - Either spouse is unable to consummate the marriage.
- Mental Incapacitation - Either spouse was mentally incapacitated and not able to understand and legally agree to the marital contract.
- Fraud - The marriage was entered into under fraudulent conditions.
Contact a divorce lawyer in Oklahoma City if you have questions about annulment law. In many cases it will be simpler to file for a divorce.