If you are considering filing for divorce, you may find yourself overwhelmed. The process of filing does seem time-consuming; however, with the right legal representation, support and information, you will be well on your way. To be helpful, we have compiled a divorce checklist of everything you need to know about the process in Oklahoma.
Ensure You Meet the Requirements to File for Divorce
The first step to filing for divorce is to make sure you meet your state’s legal requirements. Oklahoma is a no-fault divorce state, however, fault-based divorces can be alleged, meaning if you are filing for a fault-based divorce you will need to prove one of the following:
- Abandonment (for at least 12 months)
- Habitual intoxication
- Infidelity of wife leading to pregnancy
- Fraudulent contract
- Extreme cruelty
- Failure to provide financially
- Imprisonment (for a felony offense)
- Insanity (lasting at least 5 years)
Additionally, at least one spouse must have lived in the state for at least 6 months prior to filing for divorce.
What Documents Do You Need to File for an OK Divorce?
To begin your divorce proceeding, you will need to complete a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and submit it to your district county court clerk for filing. You will also need to submit, at minimum, the following documents:
- Verification you meet the residency requirement to file
- Domestic Relations Cover Sheet
- Automatic temporary injunction notice
- Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service
Before or at the final divorce hearing, you may also need the following:
- Final Dissolution of Marriage Decree
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Parenting Plan
- Schedule of Visitation
- Financial Affidavits (both parties)
- Child Support Worksheet and Custody Schedule
You should make at least three copies of all the documents above, file your petition and its supporting documents with the appropriate court, and then pay the filing fees.
Legally Notify Your Spouse
You will need to serve your spouse divorce papers with the help of a licensed professional process server or county sheriff. Once your spouse has been served, he/she must respond within 20 days and a contested or uncontested divorce will ensue.
If your spouse does not respond to the divorce petition, then the judge will assume that he/she has given up his/her right to participate in the case and may grant a default. When this happens, the judge will most likely grant all the petitioner’s requests regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and asset and property distribution.
Determine if You Will Pursue a Contested or Uncontested Divorce
At this point, if you have not hired an attorney, it would be advisable to do so. An experienced attorney can help you determine which divorce method is right for you and can guide you towards the resolution you want.
If you and your spouse just cannot agree on one or more major issues, you will need to choose a contested divorce, which may prove expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, a reputable lawyer can protect your interests and advocate for you if you decide this is the path you must take.
In the event you and your spouse can resolve your differences and agree to work together, you will choose an uncontested divorce. To do so, you will submit your documents to the court and the judge will schedule a final hearing (at least 90 days following the initial filing if minor children are involved) where a final divorce decree will be issued.
In many cases, an uncontested divorce can be less expensive than a contested divorce; however, this is not always the case. If your divorce starts off as uncontested, but then is later contested, you may end up spending more money than you initially thought you would. The best way to determine which type of divorce to pursue would be to consult with a divorce lawyer.
For assistance with your divorce, contact our office online or call us via (405) 294-1511 to schedule a consultation.