Is Alimony Legal in Oklahoma?
Yes, there is case law and statutory authority for support alimony in Oklahoma. The primary statutory authority comes from OKLA. STAT. tit. 43 § 121, which states the following:
Either spouse may be allowed such alimony out of real and
personal property of the other as the court shall think reasonable, having due regard to the value of such property at the time of the dissolution of marriage. Alimony may be allowed from real or personal property, or both, or in the form of money judgment, payable either in gross or in installments, as the court may deem just and equitable.
OKLA. STAT. tit. 43 § 121 (emphasis added)
What does Alimony Mean?
In Oklahoma support alimony is defined as a “need-based concept, with a purpose of cushioning the economic impact of the post-marriage transition and readjustment to gainful employment.” Hutchings v. Hutchings, 2011 OK 17, ¶ 15, 250 P.3d 324 (Okla. 2011). Restated, alimony is money provided from the more financially independent spouse to the less financially independent spouse after divorce to reduce the immediate impact of the change in finances. Alimony is need based and the initial burden is on the spouse seeking alimony. SeeRay v. Ray, 2006 OK 30, ¶10, 136 P.3d 634, 636 (Okla. 2006).
Factors in Determining Alimony
The following are the two primary factors for Alimony in Oklahoma:
1) The needs of the party receiving alimony
2) The ability of the other spouse to pay
Smith v. Smith, 1993 OK CIV APP 17, ¶ 8, 847 P.2d 827, 829 (citing Johnson v. Johnson, 1983 OK 117, 647 P.2d 539).
These two principle factors are the basis for multiple other factors:
3) Demonstrated need during the post-divorce economic readjustment period
4) The parties' station in life
5) The length of the marriage and the ages of the spouses
6) The earning capacity of the parties as well as their physical condition and financial means
7) The accustomed style of living of the parties
8) Evidence of a spouse's own income-producing capacity and the time needed to make the post-divorce transition for self-support.
Hutchings, 2011 OK 17, ¶ 16; Peyravy v. Peyravy, 2003 OK 92, ¶ 14, 84 P.3d 720, 723; Younge v. Younge, 2002 OK 12, ¶ 14 n.21, 41 P.3d 966, 971 n.21; McLaughlin v. McLaughlin, 1999 OK 34, ¶ 13, 979 P.2d 257, 260-61.
“Transitional Alimony” is a term originating from Johnson v. Johnson, 1983 OK 117, ¶ 23, 647 P.2d 539, 546. The Court made the following assertion, without further support, “Where a substantial amount of spousal property is granted by the court, an alimony claim must be supported by proof of excess monetary needs to cushion the economic impact of transition and readjustment to gainful employment.” Id. (emphasis added).
In Ray v. Ray, the Court held “[alimony’s] purpose is to cushion the economic impact of post-marriage transition and a spouse's readjustment to gainful employment.” Id. “The seeker of support alimony carries the burden of affirmatively demonstrating the need for excess funds to cushion the economic transition from marital dependency to employment.” Id. ¶ 11. Additionally, the court restated the factors for considering support alimony, “a demonstrated need for alimony during a reasonable post-divorce rehabilitative readjustment period” and “the time needed for the post-divorce transition.” Id. ¶ 10.
CANNON & ASSOCIATES
Oklahoma divorce cases are emotional and legally complex, especially concerning support alimony. It is important that you are able to articulate your basis for seeking support alimony under the above referenced cases. Alternatively, you must be able to address the above referenced cases in seeking to reduce or deny support alimony.
It is my hope this has answered some of your questions regarding support alimony in Oklahoma, if not please visit FAQ: Family Lawand/or contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES for a free confidential consultation. Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES to protect your rights and Fight your Oklahoma military divorce or custody case. You may send an email inquiry, complete the contact form on our website, or call at 1(405) 657-2323 for a free confidential consultation.