5 Reasons to File First in Your Oklahoma Divorce
Should you file for divorce first? Are there any advantages to filing for divorce before my spouse? These and other issues are addressed below.
Filing for Divorce First in Oklahoma
In any Oklahoma divorce case, one spouse will file their Petition to begin the process. The decision to file your Petition for Divorce should never be taken lightly. However, if your mind is made up and you are going to seek divorce in Oklahoma there may be advantages to being the first party to begin the process.
5 Reasons to be the Oklahoma Spouse to file for Divorce
The following are the five most common benefits to be the party to initiate a divorce in Oklahoma. Each of these reasons should be considered before deciding to file for divorce; however, not all of them will apply to every divorce in Oklahoma.
Going First at Trial
As with almost all civil cases, the vast majority of divorces settle without trial. In Oklahoma civil practice, which applies to divorce in Oklahoma; the party that filed the original Petitioner seeking a divorce gets to present his or her case first at trial. In some circumstances this can give you an advantage at trial. First impression are important in most things in life and that applies at trial in divorce cases as well.
The majority of divorces in Oklahoma are settled between the parties either by agreement or mediation; however, it is good to know, if your divorce case must go to trial you will have the first opportunity to tell your story to the judge or jury with the help of your Oklahoma divorce attorney.
Automatic Temporary Injunctive Relief (“ATIN”)
Oklahoma law imposes mandatory injunctions on both parties to a divorce at the moment the Petition for divorce is filed. The spouse that files the Petition also determines when the Automatic Temporary Injunctions “ATIN” go into effect.
The primary purpose of the automatic injunctions is to stop both spouses from taking actions to hurt the marital estate, divest the other of marital property, affect the children, and the other spouse without agreement between both parties during a very contentious process.
Oklahoma Statute Title 43 Section 110 governs Automatic Temporary Injunctions in Oklahoma divorces and prohibits both spouses from engaging in a large variety of conduct, which may or may not hurt the other party’s interests. In order to take action outside of the injunctions, the spouse would need a court order or agreement by the other party:
Oklahoma Statutes (43 O.S. §110) provide that upon the filing of a Petition for Divorce, Legal Separation, or Annulment, by the Petitioner, or upon service of the Petition and Summons on the Respondent, or upon waiver and acceptance of service by the Respondent, an Automatic Temporary Injunction shall be in effect against both parties until the final decree is entered or the Petition is dismissed, or until further Order of the Court unless:
(a) both parties have signed their names below agreeing to waive these Automatic Temporary Orders; or
(b) within three (3) days after service of this Summons, a party files an objection and requests a hearing with the Court. This Automatic Temporary Injunction shall remain in force until the hearing by the Court.
Either party may apply to the Court for further temporary orders, an expanded temporary injunction, or modification or revocation under 43 O.S. §110(A)(4).
THEREFORE, BOTH YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARE RESTRAINED, ENJOINED, AND PROHIBITED FROM THE FOLLOWING:
- Molesting or disturbing the peace of the other party or the child(ren) of the marriage.
- Disrupting or withdrawing any child(ren) of this marriage from an educational facility, program, or day-care where the child(ren) historically have been enrolled.
- Hiding or secreting any child(ren) of this marriage from the other party.
- Removing any child(ren) of this marriage beyond the jurisdiction of the State of Oklahoma, acting directly or in concert with others, except for vacations of two (2) weeks or less duration, without the prior written consent of the other party, which shall not be unreasonably withheld.
- Selling, mortgaging, encumbering, transferring, loaning, giving away, concealing or in any way disposing of, without the written consent of the other party or an order of the Court, any marital property, except:
(A) in the usual course of operating a business;
(B) for the purpose of retaining an attorney for the case; or
(C) for the necessities of life.
Each party shall notify the other party of any proposed other expenditures, and shall account to the court for all such expenditures made after this injunction went into effect.
- Intentionally or knowingly damaging or destroying the tangible property of the parties, or either of them, including, but not limited to, any electronically stored materials, electronic communications, social network data, financial records, and document that represents or embodies anything of value.
- Making a withdrawal for any purpose from any retirement, profit-sharing, pension, death, or other employee benefit plan or employee savings plan or from any individual retirement account or Keogh account.
- Withdrawing or borrowing in any manner all or any part of the cash surrender value of life insurance policies on either party or their child(ren).
- Changing or in any manner altering the beneficiary designation on any life insurance policies of either party or any of their children.
- Canceling, altering, or in any manner affecting any casualty, automobile, homeowners’, or health insurance policies insuring the parties’ property or persons.
- Opening or diverting mail addressed to the other party.
- Signing or endorsing the other party’s name on any negotiable instrument, check, or draft, such as tax refunds, insurance payments, and dividends, or attempting to negotiate any negotiable instruments payable to either party without the personal signature of the other party.
REGARDING INSURANCE, YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARE:
- Ordered to maintain and keep in force all presently existing health, property, vehicle, homeowners’, life and other insurance which you are presently carrying on any member of this family unit, or property or vehicle, and to cooperate as necessary in the filing and processing of claims. Any employer provided health insurance currently in existence shall remain in full force and effect for all family members.
REGARDING PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS, YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE ARE:
- Unless otherwise agreed upon in writing, Ordered to deliver to the other party within thirty (30) days from the earlier of either the date of service of the summons or the filing of an initial pleading by the respondent, the following documents:
(1) the federal and state income tax returns of each party for the past two (2) years and any nonpublic, limited partnership and privately held corporate returns for any entity in which either party has an interest, together with all supporting documentation for the tax returns, including but not limited to W-2 forms, 1099 forms, K-1 forms, Schedule C and Schedule E. If a return is not completed at the time of disclosure, the parties shall provide the documents necessary to prepare the tax return of the party, to include W-2 forms, 1099 forms, K-1 forms, copies of extension requests and estimated tax payments,
(2) two (2) months of the most recent pay stubs from each employer for whom the party worked,
(3) statements for the past six (6) months for all bank accounts held in the name of either party individually or jointly, or in the name of another person for the benefit of either party, or held by either party for the benefit of the minor child or children of the parties,
(4) documentation regarding the cost and nature of available health insurance coverage for the benefit of either party or the minor child or children of the parties,
(5) documentation regarding the cost and nature of employment or educationally related child care expenses incurred for the benefit of the minor child or children of the parties, and
(6) documentation regarding all debts in the name of either party individually or jointly, showing the most recent balance due and payment terms.
If either party is not in possession of a document required pursuant to subparagraph h of paragraph 1 of this subsection or has not been able to obtain the document in a timely fashion, the party shall state in verified writing, under the penalty of perjury, the specific document which is not available, the reasons the document is not available, and what efforts have been made to obtain the document. As more information becomes available, there is a continuing duty to supplement the disclosures.
Any issue not addressed in this intentionally exhaustive list can be addressed by a motion or requests to the family law judge controlling your divorce case.
An uncontested divorce can be settled in ten (10) days in Oklahoma, if no minor children are involved. This clock cannot start until you have filed your Petition for divorce. When minor children are involved at least ninety (90) days must bass prior to a judge finalizing a divorce in Oklahoma.
Dismissal based on Reconciliation
Only the party that files the Petition for divorce can dismiss the case, if you reconcile before your spouse files a counterclaim or answer. Many divorces in Oklahoma are dismissed based on parties reconciling or their desire to attempt reconciliation.
Marriage counseling is a great resource and should be considered, if both parties are willing to participate. Additionally, you as the first to file is in control as to whether the case is dismissed or proceedings, which may be useful in your attempts at reconciliation or saving your marriage.
Finally, initiative can sometimes be to your strategic advantage. Many family law attorneys believe the party that files the Petition has an initial advantage. This point, as is the case for most opinions, can and is hotly contested by attorneys and parties to divorce. However, you will certainly set the tone in your case, if your Petition is read by your family law judge prior to the other side’s claims in your divorce.
Divorce Strategy in Oklahoma
This list of strategic considerations on filing your Petition for divorce before your spouse does not apply to every divorce or every situation. It is important you speak to an experienced family law attorney to know the best course of action for you and your case.
Choose an Experienced Oklahoma Divorce Attorney
Contact Cannon Law Firm in Oklahoma City for legal advice on seeking divorce in Oklahoma. You need a plan before you tell your spouse you are seeking a divorce in Oklahoma. John Cannon is a Fierce Advocate for every client and will use his experience and respected reputation to do everything possible to reach the best possible outcome in your case. John has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for clients evidenced by receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb). Contact Cannon Law Firm today for a free confidential consultation.
Our Client Reviews
"John has shown nothing but compassion and professional guidance in my case. He truly cares about his clients and is exceptionally understanding when it comes to any case he is representing. He communicates genuinely as well as in a timely matter. If I were able to give his firm any more than 5 stars, I most definitely would. He is incredible."
"John Cannon is an awesome attorney. He is very professional and honest. He really cares about his clients. John always gets back to you quickly to answer any questions you have regarding your case. I highly recommend CANNON & ASSOCIATES for any legal needs you may have."
"John Cannon has helped me through the hardest time in my life. He helped me through my divorce and custody case. He truly cares about his clients and it made me so happy he always put my daughter first and wanted what was in her best interest as a child. He is very sharp and resourceful and he has been very attentive and responsive to my needs, John is very polite and professional and he always has a great attitude. John always took the time to go over everything and explain everything in depth. I've enjoyed working with John and his team and would recommend him to other clients."
"I have known John for about 6 years now in his capacity as a Judge Advocate and a civilian attorney. John has a rare blend of both sharp analytical and interpersonal skills. I have seen John achieve positive outcomes for clients in complex scenarios and If you need an attorney who can do the same for you - this is your guy."
"John did a very good job. Although the outcome was not 100% what we expected(strange judgement) it was overall positive. I would, have and will continue to recommended him. Although I certainly hope to not need his services again in the capacity I hired him for I would not hesitate to call if I do. Thanks John"
"I signed up with John June 25th, July 5th I received an email that my case is in line to be DISMISSED, within a 2 week time period John made what was one of the most stressful times in my life better! Every case is different but he handled my case with care and he was extremely open in his communication throughout the whole process. I hope to never have to have a criminal attorney again but if I do I will definitely go back to John. I highly recommend him to anyone else who is needing an attorney!"
"John is a highly respected attorney. Professional and compassionate. He has a wealth of knowledge, being a military officer and having served as an Assistant District Attorney, a Public Defender, and an Assistant Attorney General. He helped a friend's son who was headed down the wrong path, but through John's legal defense the young man is now a successful business owner."
"John is a very professional attorney, who is not only concerned about the welfare of his client but very attentive and considerate of the family, or other bodies that are in the face of the adversity. While working on my family members case, John took time out to take a class that would educate him on how to approach the many different types of cases tried in the court room. John proved his sincerity to the calling of his job, being an attorney. I would definitely recommend him to anyone."
"Mr. Cannon went above and beyond for my wife. She was facing some pretty hard fines and prison time with the US Marshalls. Mr. Cannon fought a hard fight and got her a GREAT offer. Words cannot express how much I appreciate him and what he did for my wife. I would give 10 stars and I will be promoting him. He's that awesome. He keeps you informed, he will text or call you back, and he goes above what he is asked to do and I can reassure you"HE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU OR YOUR FAMILY MEMBER". I will continue retaining him for other things my wife is battling. High five and a great big hug to Mr. Cannon. Thank you!!! John took the reigns and provided us instant peace of mind. He was timely, respectful, transparent, very professional, honest and courteous. The service he provided was above and beyond our expectations. Can’t believe professionals like him are around. Highly highly without reservations recommend him and his team."
"John Cannon is an excellent attorney. He takes sincere interest in your needs. He maintains communication and provides all the information you might want to fully understand the legal process. He also suggests alternative resolutions to your legal needs so that you can make informed choices. I definitely recommend John."
"My experience with CANNON & ASSOCIATES was absolutely amazing. I hired John Cannon two days before my rebuttal statement was due back to the Staff Judge Advocate. Within that time frame he was able to talk to my Battery and Battalion Commanders, review my evidence, and help me write a rebuttal statement that help prove my case to them, the Brigade Commander and the Post Commanding General. Cannon worked thru the night to help me get the best results for me and my family. Due to his hard work and attention to detail I am still able to continue to serve my country and progress in my military career with no adverse actions on my record. I can not thank him enough on a job well done. Cannon showed me that he was invested in my case and I highly recommend you hire him when you need someone to represent you in a legal matter."
"John Cannon assisted me through a very difficult time in my military career. He worked tirelessly with me on my case and kept me informed during the entire process. I can't say enough good things about Mr. Cannon. He's incredibly knowledgeable with regards to military justice. The outcome of my case was successful and I attribute that to Mr. Cannon's professionalism and expertise in dealing with military law. I would highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone with military justice or criminal defense needs."
"Hands down the best lawyer. Mr.Cannon accepted my case and got on it the same day. I would give him 10 stars if I could. I really appreciate the dedication on how he handles things with a short time frame."
"Mr. Cannon has represented me on 2 criminal cases and one civil case over the past 4 years. He has always served me honestly, speedily and with good moral direction. John has integrity and humility. He has never belittled me or treated me in an unfair manor. I appreciate all that he has done for me and I most certainly recommend him to family, strangers and friends. I will definitely use Mr. Cannon in the future for any and all of my family's legal matters."
"Mr. Cannon went above and beyond for my wife. She was facing some pretty hard fines and prison time with the US Marshalls. Mr. Cannon fought a hard fight and got her a GREAT offer. Words cannot express how much I appreciate him and what he did for my wife. I would give 10 stars and I will be promoting him. He's that awesome. He keeps you informed, he will text or call you back, and he goes above what he is asked to do and I can reassure you"HE WILL FIGHT FOR YOU OR YOUR FAMILY MEMBER". I will continue retaining him for other things my wife is battling. High five and a great big hug to Mr. Cannon. Thank you!!!"
"I had a great experience with John. He is very personable and helped me a lot. I’m really grateful I found him. He made me feel confident that he was the right lawyer for my case and that he wasn’t trying to sell me but genuinely just wanted to help me. I would highly recommend John to anyone! "
"Working with Mr. Cannon has been a real life-saving experience for me and my family. He provides the knowledge of the possibilities as soon as he can get them, then works tirelessly to ensure that any concerns or questions are addressed immediately. He has been a great asset to us not only in the face of legal troubles, but in providing a sense of security that is truly reassuring in the face of the uncertain. Mr. Cannon has been a great resource and has been very patient with me. From the start he provided a list of things to do that would help me help him with my case and since the beginning has continued to give advice or suggestions on any matter that has bothered me with my situation, large or small. He is gentle, yet realistic, and this combination really does become a rock in tumultuous times such as these. I would highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone who needs a vigilant and committed attorney, especially one that stands by your side until your issue is resolved. He goes above and beyond not only to work, but to care for his clients!"
"John Cannon assisted me through a very difficult time in my military career. He worked tirelessly with me on my case and kept me informed during the entire process. I can't say enough good things about Mr. Cannon. He's incredibly knowledgeable with regards to military justice. The outcome of my case was successful and I attribute that to Mr. Cannon's professionalism and expertise in dealing with military law. I highly recommend Mr. Cannon to anyone with military justice or criminal defense needs."