If you're considering ending your marriage in Oklahoma, there's a few basics you should know before you file for divorce. This article provides a general overview of the divorce process in Oklahoma as well as a list of helpful links to get you started.
In Oklahoma, divorce is referred to as a "dissolution of marriage." Oklahoma law provides both no-fault and fault-based divorce grounds. See 43 O.K. Stat. §43-101 (2019). While the majority of today's couples opt for a no-fault divorce, you can choose from the following fault-based grounds:
As in the majority of states, no-fault divorce is the more popular option in Oklahoma. A no-fault divorce allows you to file your case without going into detail as to why the relationship broke down. Instead, you simply state that you and your spouse are incompatible.
To file either kind of divorce, at least one spouse must have resided in the state for at least six months. Additionally, one of you must have live in the county where you plan to file for at least 30 days. See 43 O.K. Stat. §43-102 (2019).
Oklahoma also has some relatively unique waiting periods for family law cases. If you have children under the age of 18, the court won't grant your final divorce until at least three months from the date you file. This waiting period can be waived for good cause or if both sides agree to the waiver.
You must also wait at least six months to remarry after your divorce has been granted. The six-month rule does not apply if you remarry your former spouse or your ex passes away before the waiting period has expired.
To file your case, the filing party must prepare a "petition" (written request for divorce), which must be accompanied by an "affidavit" (written declaration) in which he or she swears that all information included in the petition is true. If you have minor children, the petition must list their names and where they have lived for the five years immediately preceding the divorce. You must also file a Notice of Summons, which is "served" on the other party.
Once you've completed the necessary paperwork, you must file it in the appropriate county. You can file where you currently live or where your spouse resides as long as one of you has lived there for at least 30 days.
Under Oklahoma law, you must provide copies of all documents to the non-filing spouse, referred to as "service" of the divorce paperwork. To achieve "service" you can use the sheriff's department or hire a process server to deliver the documents in person. You will be responsible for any service fees.
Alternatively, you can ask your spouse to accept service of the divorce petition and summons. If your spouse agrees, then your spouse will need to complete an Acceptance/Waiver of Service form for you to file with the court.
If your spouse is in the military or can't be located, talk to your court clerk about alternative service. In these situations, special service rules may apply.
Both spouses in an Oklahoma divorce are required to make a full disclosure of their assets and debts. One spouse's failure to exchange information or hide marital assets can prompt the court to force the non-complying spouse to pay fines and/or the other side's attorney's fees. Be prepared to provide your spouse with detailed information on your income, monthly expenses, assets, and debts along with supporting documentation.
For more information on the divorce process, read our section on Oklahoma Divorce and Family Law.