Does Adultery Affect Divorce in Oklahoma?
Although adultery is a felony in Oklahoma, it will generally have little to no effect on your divorce. Oklahoma is a no-fault state for divorce, and courts do not usually consider marital misconduct when deciding issues like alimony, child support, and child custody. Nevertheless, if you spent a large amount of money on your affair, your spouse may be awarded more when the court splits your marital property.
Can You Go to Jail for Adultery in Oklahoma?
Yes. According to Oklahoma Statutes §21-871:
“Any person guilty of the crime of adultery shall be guilty of a felony and punished by imprisonment in the State Penitentiary”
Adulterers can face up to 5 years in prison and up to $500 in fines. In Oklahoma, adultery is defined as:
“The unlawful voluntary sexual intercourse of a married person with one of the opposite sex.”
If one of the parties is married to someone else, both can face adultery charges, regardless of the paramour’s marital status. Only husbands and wives of adulterers can bring about charges of adultery – unless the unfaithful couple is living together in “open and notorious adultery.”
Why Doesn’t the Judge Care About Adultery?
Oklahoma has been a no-fault divorce state since 1975, which means you do not have to cite marital misconduct to file for divorce. Previously, spouses had to prove marital misconduct to get a divorce, but now, they can simply use the grounds of marital incompatibility to tell the court they no longer get along and would like a divorce.
Due to this change in the law, adultery is no longer relevant to the judge. The judge’s job is to help you and your spouse dissolve your marriage, which currently means dividing marital property and debt, arranging child custody, visitation, and support, and awarding alimony if appropriate.
(Alimony is appropriate when one spouse served as a stay-at-home parent or was otherwise financially dependent on the other during the marriage).
What Do Judges Consider Instead?
The judge’s primary considerations during a divorce case are the best interests of your children (if you have them), dividing debts and assets, and ensuring both spouses can maintain their quality of life once the marriage ends.
If an affair impacts a couple’s marital finances, the judge might consider it when dividing property, but otherwise, the judge’s job is to make sure you can lead separate lives and care for your children (if you have them) without conflict.
Does Oklahoma Grant Divorces Based on Marital Fault?
Yes, Oklahoma will grant a divorce based on marital fault at the request of either spouse. Fault divorces must be based on one of the following grounds:
- Extreme cruelty
- Abandonment for at least 1 year
- Pregnancy by someone other than the spouse
- Habitual drunkenness
- Gross neglect of marital duty
- Insanity for at least 5 years
If you choose to file a fault divorce on the grounds of adultery, you must prove that your spouse cheated on you. This can be expensive and time-consuming, and as we’ve discussed above, the adultery in question may not change the outcome of your divorce.
Still, some couples prefer to file for divorce based on marital fault for moral or personal reasons, and our attorneys can help. Our job is to help you achieve your goals.
Moving Forward After Adultery
Finding out your spouse cheated on you can be a traumatic experience but finding justice can make you feel better. Whether you want to leave your marriage, press charges against your spouse, or both, Nichols Dixon is here for you.
Our law firm stands out for experience, reputation, and results. We understand all sides of the law, so we can develop an effective legal strategy for your unique situation. We have a reputation as reliable and effective lawyers within our community. Most importantly, we focus on results.
Your success is our priority. Call us at (405) 294-1511 or contact us online to get compassionate representation from award-winning attorneys today.