What is an Uncontested Divorce in Oklahoma?
Divorce or dissolution of marriage is never an easy experience for those involved; however, an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma is a faster and less stressful process than the average divorce. Divorce is commonly considered one of the most difficult experiences a person will go through in life. However, for couples that are able to reach an early resolution to their divorce, the stress involved in an Oklahoma divorce is often far less than one would expect. Most divorces are litigious, i.e. the parties fight over some or many issues with the assistance of their Oklahoma divorce attorneys. However, uncontested divorce is a process that allows the parties to avoid the norm of fighting in divorce with a much shorter time frame for resolving issues and finalizing your divorce.
We open hear some of the following questions from people seeking an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma:
What is an uncontested divorce?
What happens in an uncontested divorce?
Does an uncontested divorce go before a judge?
What is the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce in Oklahoma?
How long does an uncontested divorce take in Oklahoma?
How much does an uncontested divorce cost in Oklahoma?
This article seeks to answer these any many other questions concerning uncontested divorce in Oklahoma. Basically, an uncontested divorce is a divorce that results in a decree that is agreed on by the parties, ie not a contested or litigated divorce. In an uncontested divorce both parties reach an agreed divorce decree that settles all the necessary terms in the divorce. The difference between a contested divorce and uncontested divorce, whether or not you will have to appear before a judge in your Oklahoma divorce case, and many other questions are answered below.
What is an Uncontested Divorce?
Uncontested divorce is somewhat self-explanatory. In an Oklahoma uncontested divorce, the parties have reached an agreement concerning division of real property, division of personal property, division of debts, child custody, child support, spousal support, and other issues that are commonly litigated in a contested divorce. Reaching an agreement with your spouse on these issues can provide you the opportunity to work with an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney for a much smaller fee than a contested divorce in Oklahoma. Even if you and your spouse reach an agreement on every issue in your divorce and you want to pursue an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, it is in your best interest to work with an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney to ensure your rights and interests are protected in the divorce decree and other orders in your divorce.
Our team of experienced Oklahoma divorce attorneys have found that retaining a divorce attorney is the best way to ensure your interests are protected and that you are prepared, in case your uncontested divorce develops into something more complicated. In some Oklahoma uncontested divorces mediation or collaborative divorce strategies are necessary to reach a final settlement of your otherwise uncontested divorce in Oklahoma. Our Fierce Advocates at Cannon & Associates are ready to guide you through the process of an uncontested divorce or anything more complex, if your uncontested divorce takes a turn towards litigation.
Oklahoma Uncontested Divorce Requirements
In order to accomplish an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, often called a waiver divorce, you mush reach an agreement with your spouse on all issues necessary to dissolve the marriage. In Oklahoma, you can file a “fault divorce” or “no-fault divorce”; however, you can only seek a waiver divorce or uncontested divorce, if you file an Oklahoma no-fault divorce action. In order to seek an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, you must plea in your Petition for Dissolution of Marriage that you and your spouse are incompatible, i.e. a no-fault divorce pursuant to Oklahoma Statutes Title 43 Section 101.
Once your Oklahoma uncontested divorce is filed, you must reach an agreement on all necessary issues to dissolve your marriage through an uncontested divorce, in order to avoid divorce litigation. As previously stated, these issues include property division, division of debts, distribution of retirement accounts/retirement assets, child custody, spousal support, child support, and other issues. You will be forced to go through the contested divorce process, if you and your spouse are not able to reach an agreement on every issue in your divorce, i.e. unless the divorce is truly an uncontested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, also called a waiver divorce, the parties can submit the necessary pleadings to the divorce court jointly or one party can present everything to the court. The phrase waiver divorce, comes from the concept that the spouse receiving the petition for dissolution of marriage, otherwise called the Respondent in the divorce, “waives” or gives up the right to file an Answer or Counter-Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Instead of filing a responsive pleading, Counter-Petition for divorce, the Respondent “waives” that right.
Typically, in a contested divorce, the party initiating the Oklahoma divorce action will file a Petition for divorce, laying out what that spouse wants the Court to order in the divorce action and the other spouse will file their Answer or Counter-Petition making their own request to the court. The Petition for divorce and the Counter-Petition for divorce contains every request from that party; for division of property, debts, child custody, child support, and any other issue in the divorce action. However, in a waiver divorce or uncontested divorce, the Petition for divorce lays out the agreement of the parties for the division of property, debts, child custody, child support, and all other issues necessary to complete an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma.
What is the Process of an Uncontested Divorce in Oklahoma?
The following is a snapshot of the necessary steps in order to complete an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma. We strongly recommend speaking with and retaining an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney to assist you through the waiver divorce process in Oklahoma. Our team of Fierce Advocates are ready to answer your questions; however, until you are ready to meet with a divorce attorney, the following an overview of the process for an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma:
1. Petition for Dissolution of Marriage
As stated above, in a waiver divorce or uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, the parties will initiate the divorce action by filing a Petition for divorce or dissolution of marriage laying out the proposed agreement for all issues necessary to complete the divorce. One or both of the parties must live in Oklahoma for six months prior to filing for divorce and at least 30 days in the county you are filing your waiver divorce in Oklahoma.
There is a filing fee or expense to filing any action in district court, including an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma; however, the fee is less when the parties do not require service of summons (discussed below). The typical filing fee for a waiver divorce in Oklahoma is less than $200, as of April 2021.
2. Waiver of Summons and Entry of Appearance
In a waiver divorce, the Respondent or spouse that did not file the Petition for divorce, will waive service or process, i.e. the right to receive proper notice that you have been sued for divorce. In an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma, the Respondent may waive the service of process notification by signing and returning the waiver of summons pleading to the Petitioner’s divorce attorney. The Petitioner’s divorce attorney will file the signed waiver of summons in the Court where the uncontested divorce is filed, which notifies the Court that service of the Petition is no longer necessary.
3. Decree of Dissolution of Marriage
The decree of dissolution of marriage or divorce decree is similar to the petition for dissolution of marriage; however, it is framed as orders of the Court, as opposed to requests or “Petitions” to the court. An Oklahoma divorce decree has multiple requirements in order to be legally sufficient and to protect your interests and the interests of your spouse. The family law judge in your case will not give you legal advice or assist you in ensuring that your divorce decree is legally sufficient to be enforceable or protect your interests, which is one of the many reasons it is very important to retain an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney, even in an agreed waiver divorce.
This article will not go into the specifics of every legal requirement to create a legally sufficient and enforceable divorce decree; however, the following elements are essential to be included in your divorce decree, even for an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma:
- Division of all Marital Property
- Identification and division of all separate property (non-marital property)
- Division of all Marital Debts
- Identification and division of all individual debts
- Terms of Spousal Support (alimony) or the absence of Spousal Support
The following are required, if there are minor children in the divorce
- Joint Custody Plan
- Legal Custody determination
- Physical Custody Schedule
- Holiday Visitation Schedule / Summer Visitation Schedule
- Child Support Schedule and obligation
- Child Support Calculation
You cannot simply file a divorce decree in an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma. Rather, you must ensure all of the following requirements are met, prior to appearing for a hearing on your uncontested divorce in Oklahoma before a family law judge. The necessary elements must be included in the divorce decree; both parties must sign the divorce decree and all necessary pleadings; both parties must sign a verification of the divorce decree; and in some instances a jurisdictional affidavit is necessary for the divorce.
Once all the pleadings and documents are finalized, a hearing can be scheduled before the family law judge assigned to your case, determined by the court clerk where your divorce petition was filed, and you or your Oklahoma divorce attorney must appear to present your waiver divorce to the family law judge.
4. Hearing on Waiver Divorce in Oklahoma
After you file the petition for divorce and the waiver of summons and entry of appearance by your spouse, you and your Oklahoma divorce attorney may schedule a hearing before the assigned family law judge to finalize your divorce. Under Oklahoma family law, there is a mandatory ten day waiting period before appearing before the family law judge to finalize your divorce. Additionally, Oklahoma family law requires a ninety-day waiting period prior to finalizing a divorce, if minor children are involved. Additionally, in Oklahoma County and many other counties, the family law judge will require both parents to complete a parenting class on the impact of divorce on children, prior to your divorce being finalized.
Additional Steps: When an Uncontested Divorce becomes Contested
Most divorcing spouses that decide to attempt or enter into the uncontested divorce process in Oklahoma plan on resolving their divorce without issues or contention. However, issues or disputes can arise that make the process detailed above (presenting an agree divorce decree) no longer possible. When an uncontested divorce becomes contested, it is important to have an experienced Oklahoma City divorce attorney on your side to present your case and protect your interests. The following are some of the most common additional steps that become necessary when an uncontested divorce becomes a contested divorce:
Divorce mediation is a powerful tool to help resolve semi-contested divorces. In divorce mediation, both parties appear with their divorce attorney, if they have retained counsel, and present their case and petition to a divorce mediator. Skilled divorce mediators are family law attorneys or divorce attorneys that have years of experience litigating divorce cases. Divorce mediators use their experience to forecast potential outcomes in a divorce trial or litigation and help the parties reach a mutually agreeable resolution of all the issues in their Oklahoma divorce. Mediators in divorce, act as a non-biased and neutral third party that facilitate open discussion between the parties, while adding insight from years of experience.
Every month, many contested divorces or semi-contested divorces are settled in Oklahoma with the assistance of mediation. The process may take half a day or an entire day; however, it is less expensive and far less stressful than a contested family law trial in open court for anyone to watch/listen to, including your family or your children. Additionally, most family law judges in Oklahoma require mediation prior to schedule a divorce trial.
2. Collaborative Divorce
Collaborative divorce, unlike mediation, only involves the parties and their counsel. In collaborative divorce, there is not a neutral third party. Rather, the parties and their Oklahoma divorce attorneys will strive to communicate and reach a settlement that is mutually beneficial and fair to the parties. The goal of collaborative divorce is the same as mediation, a fair and efficient resolution to divorce; however, in collaborative divorce the parties’ divorce attorneys are less of advocates for each party and more focused on what is best for the family as a whole.
Why Consider an Uncontested Divorce in Oklahoma?
Every divorce is difficult and emotionally taxing; however, an uncontested divorce can minimize the negative impacts on you and your family. An uncontested divorce in Oklahoma can save you time and money by retaining an experienced Oklahoma divorce attorney to help streamline your divorce and ensure your rights and interests are protected, while avoiding costly litigation. uncontested divorce in Oklahoma takes substantially less time than a contested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, you may be able to avoid ever appearing in person before the family law judge or simply appear once to present your waiver divorce / uncontested divorce to the judge. As opposed to a contested divorce, in which you may appear multiple times for contested hearings before the judge.
Additionally, an uncontested divorce will likely lead to a more amicable relationship between former spouses after divorce. This is due in part to the fact an uncontested divorce allows the parties to complete their divorce without bringing years of pain and baggage into the equation with the Oklahoma no-fault divorce option.
At Cannon & Associates, our Fierce Advocates for families will use our experience and knowledge to assist you in preparing and presenting your uncontested divorce or waiver divorce to your spouse and the Court. Even uncontested divorces are challenging emotionally and logistically. Our Oklahoma divorce attorneys are dedicated to serving every client and ensuring that you understand every step in the process and are prepared for life during and after divorce.
Contact – Cannon & Associates: Oklahoma Fierce Advocates for Divorce Clients
The Fierce Advocates at Cannon & Associates, have the experience you need to represent you and walk beside you during your divorce. We have successfully handled hundreds of divorces for clients across Oklahoma. Contact Cannon & Associates by completing the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case strategy meeting for your uncontested divorce in Oklahoma.