If you are considering ending your marriage in Oklahoma, there are a few basics you should know before you file. This article provides a general overview of the divorce process in Oklahoma as well as a list of helpful links to get you started.
Oklahoma law provides both no-fault and fault-based divorce grounds. In Oklahoma, divorce is referred to as a "dissolution of marriage." 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 party must have resided in the state for six months or more. Additionally, one of you must live in the county where you plan to file for at least 30 days.
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" (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 have all 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 private process server to deliver the documents in person. Many people prefer a private service, as the companies that serve legal papers typically attempt to deliver documents several times before charging an extra fee. If you use a sheriff's department, you might have to pay for each service attempt.
Both spouses in an Oklahoma divorce are required to make a full disclosure of their assets and debts. Failure to exchange information can prompt the court to impose fines or force the non-complying spouse to pay the other side's attorney's fees.