Grounds for Divorce Under Oklahoma Divorce Laws
Oklahoma divorce laws permit divorces based upon several grounds, including:
- Abandonment for one year
- When wife at time of marriage is pregnant for someone other than her husband
- Extreme cruelty
- Fraudulent contract
- Habitual drunkenness
- Gross neglect of duty
- Imprisonment for the commission of a felony
- Insanity for a period of five years
- Incompatibility of the parties
Oklahoma divorce laws require that you and/or your spouse be a resident of the state for a minimum of six months immediately prior to the filing of the petition for divorce.
You may file your petition in the county where you live as long as you have been a resident of that county for at least thirty days. Another option is to file in the county where your spouse resides.
Name of Court and Title of Action/Parties
The spouse who files the action is called the Plaintiff, while the other spouse is called the Defendant. Actions for divorce in the State of Oklahoma are filed in the District Court. The Petition for Divorce is the action that initiates the divorce, and the Decree of Divorce is the final action.
Oklahoma divorce laws allow a spouse to bring an action for alimony against the other spouse without a divorce. The grounds and requirements for legal separation are the same as for a contested divorce.
If you have minor children, you’ll have to wait 90 days from the date you file until the decree is issued.
In addition, you must wait six months from the date of the decree before you are allowed to remarry (unless you want to remarry the woman you just divorced) or even to cohabit with another person who is not your ex.
Any person who violates this provision is guilty of bigamy and may be imprisoned for a term of not less than one year and not more than three years in the State Penitentiary.
Either spouse may be awarded alimony out of real and personal property of the other spouse either as a lump sum or in installments. Payments end when the alimony recipient dies, remarries, or voluntarily moves in with a member of the opposite sex.
Distribution of Property
Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court will divide the marital property between each of you. The court may divide the property in kind, or by setting aside the property to one party and requiring the other party to be reimbursed.
Oklahoma courts will decide the issue of custody based on the best interests of the child. Custody may be granted to either parent or to both parents jointly.
When awarding custody, the court considers which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent. Gender of the parties is not a considering factor in determining custody of the child.
If either or both parents have requested joint custody, the party so requesting shall submit to court-mandated parenting plans detailing arrangements for child care. Such plans shall include provisions relating to the medical and dental care of the child, school placement, and physical living arrangements for the child, child support obligations, and visitation rights.
In determining custody, the child may express a preference but the court’s decision won’t be bound by that preference.
Oklahoma divorce laws allow courts to order one or both parents to attend an educational program designed to teach the involved adults how to help their children cope with these life changes. The court may also order individual counseling, as it deems appropriate.
The Oklahoma legislature has established child support guidelines, which establish the presumptive correct amount of child support. Deviation from the guidelines require a specific finding by the court that application of the guidelines would be unjust or inappropriate and such findings must be included in the judgment.
Child support orders may be modified upon a showing of material change in circumstances of the parties.
When a divorce is granted, the court may restore the wife to her maiden or former name if she so desires.