What Are the 12 Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma?

A woman taking off her wedding ring.

When considering divorce in Oklahoma, you must understand the 12 legal grounds that the law permits for ending a marriage. These grounds encompass various aspects, including abandonment, adultery, impotence, imprisonment, cruelty, and more. Understanding these legal grounds is crucial for making informed decisions as you navigate the Oklahoma divorce process.

At Cannon & Associates, our experienced divorce attorneys specifically handle cases related to family law, providing comprehensive guidance on the legal grounds for divorce in Oklahoma. We can help you understand your rights, traverse the legal system, and ensure that your case is approached with experience and care.

If you are considering divorce, it’s essential to be informed about the legal grounds that may apply to your situation. Reach out to Cannon & Associates for personalized assistance tailored to your unique circumstances. Act now to protect your rights and secure the guidance you need during this challenging time. Call us at 405-591-3935 for a free consultation, your future deserves high-quality legal support.

Exploring the Legal Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma

Did you know that Oklahoma law recognizes 12 grounds for divorce? Each of these grounds has specific legal requirements and implications, which can affect the outcome of your divorce case. For instance, a divorce granted on the grounds of adultery may have different consequences than one based on abandonment or a fraudulent marriage contract.

The 12 grounds for divorce in Oklahoma include:

  1. Abandonment: One spouse must have abandoned the other for at least a year.
  2. Adultery: Infidelity or extramarital affairs.
  3. Impotence: The inability to consummate the marriage.
  4. Extreme Cruelty: Physical or emotional abuse that makes living together unbearable.
  5. Fraudulent Contract: Marriage based on fraud or misrepresentation.
  6. Incompatibility: No-fault grounds, indicating that the couple cannot get along.
  7. Habitual Drunkenness: Excessive alcohol consumption impacting the marriage.
  8. Gross Neglect of Duty: Failure to fulfill marital obligations.
  9. Felony Imprisonment: One spouse is sentenced to imprisonment for a felony.
  10. Separation: Living separate and apart without cohabitation for a specified time.
  11. Insanity: Mental illness requiring confinement for at least five years.
  12. Bigamy: One spouse enters into a marriage while already legally married.

Note that the legal guidelines may change, so it’s crucial to consult with a family law attorney from Cannon & Associates for the most up-to-date information and advice tailored to your specific situation.

Grasping these divorce grounds in Oklahoma is vital because they lay the groundwork for your divorce petition. It not only dictates the path your divorce proceeding will take but also influences the final divorce decree, which can have a lifelong impact on aspects such as child custody, marital property distribution, and alimony. Hence, gaining a deep understanding of these legal grounds and their consequences is necessary for making informed decisions.

1. Abandonment and Its Consequences

Abandonment is accepted as a legitimate ground for divorce in Oklahoma if one spouse deserts the other without sufficient justification for at least one year. Abandonment can significantly influence child custody, visitation rights, and spousal support determinations. The court always prioritizes the well-being of children and equitable support for the abandoned spouse.

Abandonment could also impact the division of property. Misconduct and dissipation of assets might sway the court’s decision, potentially resulting in an unequal distribution of marital assets to ensure fairness. Yet, in an uncontested divorce, when all terms are agreed upon by both parties, the property division may be more streamlined and friendly.

2. Adultery as a Basis for Divorce

In Oklahoma, adultery can serve as a reason for divorce. However, it’s not as straightforward as one might think. Proving adultery requires substantial evidence, such as proof of a spouse’s infidelity within 30 days of filing for divorce. If proven, it can have significant implications on the divorce outcome, especially in terms of asset division, spousal support, and child custody arrangements.

Nonetheless, it should be kept in mind that adultery usually doesn’t directly affect the divorce settlement. The court only considers adultery if it has resulted in financial repercussions for the spouse or children. In no-fault divorces, where incompatibility is cited, the impact of adultery on the settlement may be limited.

3. Impotence: The Inability to Consummate the Marriage

Impotence as a ground for divorce refers to the inability of one spouse to engage in sexual intercourse, which is a fundamental aspect of marriage. In Oklahoma, this condition must be incurable and existent at the time of the marriage to serve as a valid ground for divorce. The party claiming impotence as a reason for divorce must provide sufficient proof, and the condition must be medically diagnosed.

4. Extreme Cruelty: Physical or Emotional Abuse

Extreme cruelty encompasses acts of physical violence or emotional abuse that render the marital relationship unbearable for the victim’s spouse. This includes any form of abuse that poses a threat to the safety, health, or mental well-being of the partner. In Oklahoma, victims of such cruelty have the right to file for divorce, and evidence including medical records, testimonies, and documented instances of abuse can be used to substantiate these claims.

5. Fraudulent Marriage Contract: A Rare But Serious Claim

Although infrequent, fraudulent marriage contracts, which can be considered a type of fraudulent contract, can carry major consequences in Oklahoma divorces. Such contracts denote that a spouse entered into the marriage under deceptive circumstances. Examples of deception can include fraudulent misrepresentation or marrying solely to avoid something. If proven, it could significantly influence the divorce result, especially regarding property division, spousal support, and child custody.

Initiating a divorce based on a fraudulent marriage contract involves:

  • Identifying this as one of the fault-based reasons for seeking a divorce
  • Evaluating the actions carried out by a party to the contract to prove fraudulent intent
  • Gathering evidence of deceptive actions or actions identified as fraudulent by law

Note that proving fraudulent intent may be necessary to proceed with the divorce.

6. Incompatibility: The No-Fault Divorce Ground

Incompatibility is the most commonly cited ground for no-fault divorce in Oklahoma. It implies that the spouses can no longer get along, and there is no reasonable expectation for reconciliation. Unlike fault-based grounds, incompatibility does not require proof of wrongdoing by either party. This ground simplifies the divorce process by allowing couples to dissolve their marriage without the need to establish fault.

7. Habitual Drunkenness: Impacting Marital Life

Habitual drunkenness refers to the repeated overconsumption of alcohol by one spouse to the extent that it interferes with the couple’s married life and responsibilities. To file for divorce on this ground, the affected spouse must demonstrate that the drinking is persistent and has a detrimental impact on the marriage, including financial strain or emotional distress.

8. Gross Neglect of Duty: Marital Obligations Unmet

Gross neglect of duty occurs when one spouse fails to provide for the basic needs of the other or fulfill their marital responsibilities. This may include neglecting financial obligations, child care, or other duties inherent to the marital partnership. In Oklahoma, this ground for divorce recognizes the importance of these obligations and the impact their neglect can have on a marriage.

9. Felony Imprisonment: When a Spouse is Convicted of a Felony

Imprisonment as a ground for divorce applies when one spouse is convicted of a felony and sentenced to imprisonment and is in a federal penal institution or a similar imprisonment situation. The incarceration of a spouse can create insurmountable challenges for the marital relationship, and the law in Oklahoma acknowledges this by allowing it as a valid reason for divorce.

10. Separation: A Physical and Legal Distance

Separation is recognized as a ground for divorce when the spouses have lived separately and apart without cohabitation for a significant period. In Oklahoma, the required duration of separation is stipulated by law and must be met before a divorce can be granted on this basis.

11. Insanity: Mental Illness and Confinement

Insanity as a ground for divorce is applicable when one spouse has suffered from mental illness and has been confined to an institution for a continuous period, typically at least five years. In Oklahoma, medical evidence and certification of the condition are necessary to pursue a divorce on the grounds of insanity.

12. Bigamy: The Legal Prohibition of Multiple Marriages

Bigamy occurs when one spouse is already legally married to another person at the time of the subsequent marriage. In Oklahoma, entering into a marriage while still being married to someone else is illegal and serves as a legitimate ground for divorce, as well as potential criminal charges against the offending spouse.

No-Fault Divorces

In Oklahoma, couples can also opt for a no-fault divorce, which is characterized by the couple declaring that the marriage is irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. Incompatibility is acknowledged as a satisfactory basis for no-fault grounds in the state, eliminating the need to prove fault.

A no-fault divorce streamlines the divorce process, enabling couples to end their marriage without proving fault. This streamlined approach reduces contention and can expedite the process, making it a preferred choice for many couples. It is worth mentioning, however, that while no-fault divorces make the process easier, they might restrict the opportunity to put forth evidence to prove fault, potentially affecting the settlement of divorce-related issues.

The Impact of Fault on Divorce Outcomes

Even though Oklahoma functions as a ‘no fault’ divorce state, proving fault can still have consequences on divorce outcomes. Fault grounds like abandonment, adultery, impotence, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkenness, and fraudulent behavior can be cited for a fault-based divorce. However, they may not substantially influence divorce conclusions such as child custody, alimony, and property division.

For instance, adultery can serve as grounds for divorce, but its direct influence on alimony is limited. Courts will only take adulterous behavior into account if it has affected the spouse’s financial capacity to support themselves or their children. Similarly, a fraudulent marriage contract could potentially influence property division, spousal support, and child custody in the event of a divorce, with the deceived spouse potentially arguing for more favorable terms.

Residency Requirements and Filing Protocols

Before initiating a divorce in Oklahoma, it’s important to be familiar with the residency requirements and filing procedures. Oklahoma law requires one of the spouses to have maintained residency in the state for a minimum of six months. Additionally, the divorce petition must be presented to the county where one of the spouses has resided for at least 30 days.

Once these residency prerequisites are met, the divorce process can be initiated by filing the necessary documents with the court. It’s important to remember that if children are involved, a mandatory 90-day waiting period applies from the date of filing the petition before a final order can be obtained.

The Role of Child Custody in Divorce Cases

Child custody plays a pivotal role in divorce proceedings. When determining child custody in divorce cases, Oklahoma courts take into account various factors, including:

  • The child’s wishes
  • The willingness of the parents to cooperate
  • The ability of each parent to meet the child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Parental stability

There are several types of child custody arrangements available in Oklahoma after a divorce, including:

  • Legal Custody: This is the right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious instruction.
  • Physical Custody: Refers to the child living primarily with one parent who provides day-to-day care.
  • Joint Custody: Both parents share legal and/or physical custody of the child, making decisions together and splitting time spent with the child.
  • Sole Custody: One parent has both legal and physical custody, often due to the other parent’s unfitness or absence.
  • Split Custody: Each parent has full custody of one or more of their children, dividing the siblings between them.
  • ‘Birdnesting’: The children remain in one home while the parents rotate in and out according to a schedule, maintaining stability for the children.

Each custody arrangement carries its implications and obligations, making it crucial to understand them when navigating the divorce process.

Addressing Alimony and Maintenance Issues

Issues related to alimony, child support, and maintenance are significant factors to consider in any divorce case. In Oklahoma, the court takes into consideration the recipient’s needs arising from the marriage and the paying spouse’s ability to provide support when determining alimony.

The duration of the marriage significantly influences the determination of alimony awards. Typically, the length of alimony payments is correlated to the length of the marriage. However, potential maintenance issues could arise, such as the establishment of spousal maintenance payments as part of temporary orders, which end once the divorce is complete.

Property Division of Marital Assets and Debts

In a divorce, property division entails managing marital assets and liabilities. According to Oklahoma law, marital property encompasses all property obtained by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of its title or ownership. On the other hand, separate property pertains to property acquired by a spouse before the marriage, through inheritance, or as a gift, and is exempt from division in a divorce.

In Oklahoma, the division of assets in a divorce is guided by the principle of equitable distribution. This entails the court dividing the marital property in a manner that is deemed fair and just, although not necessarily equal. Therefore, it’s essential to understand how Oklahoma law treats marital and separate property when navigating property division in a divorce.

Cannon & Associates can provide invaluable assistance during this process. Our experienced family law attorneys understand the divorce laws and intricacies of property division in Oklahoma divorces. We can guide you through the legal nuances, ensuring that your rights are protected and that the division of assets is approached with fairness. Whether it’s determining the classification of property, assessing its value, or advocating for your interests in court, our team is dedicated to providing comprehensive support.

Understanding the Divorce Decree and Finalization

Issuing the divorce decree marks the final step in the divorce process. This decree holds significance as it officially signifies the termination of the marriage and outlines the future obligations that both parties are legally bound to adhere to.

Following the issuance of a divorce decree, it formally records the judge’s decisions derived from the testimony and evidence presented during court proceedings. The divorce is deemed final on the day the court signs the decree, and the parties involved typically receive the decree within a few days thereafter.

How Cannon & Associates Can Assist You Through Your Divorce

Understanding the legal grounds for divorce in Oklahoma, whether it’s a no-fault or fault-based divorce, plays a crucial role in the divorce process. It’s important to understand the implications of each ground, as they can significantly impact the divorce resolution, particularly in terms of child custody, alimony, and property division.

Understanding the residency requirements and filing protocols, the role of child custody, and addressing alimony and maintenance issues can simplify the complex process of divorce. Remember that you’re not alone. Guidance, like that provided by Cannon & Associates, can ensure your rights are protected and your future well-being is considered as you go through this challenging journey.

At Cannon & Associates law firm, we acknowledge that going through a divorce is a journey filled with emotional and legal intricacies. With our guidance, we help our clients through this difficult process, ensuring their rights are protected and their future well-being is considered.

Beyond legal advice, we provide legal aid services and further support through our dedicated Client Care Coordinator, assisting clients with non-legal challenges they may encounter after their case, including attending important meetings. If you’re considering divorce, reach out to us for a free consultation at 405-591-3935.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the fault conditions for divorce in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, fault conditions for divorce include adultery, abandonment, fraud, cruelty, imprisonment, conviction of a felony, and living apart, among others. However, most divorces are granted on a no-fault basis.

How many years do you have to be separated to be legally divorced in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, you must be separated for at least 90 days (if there are children) or 10 days (if there are no children) before a divorce can be granted.

What is the easiest way to get a divorce in Oklahoma?

The easiest way to get a divorce in Oklahoma is when both parties agree on everything, allowing for a simple process of filing a document with the court and attending a brief hearing for the final resolution.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, a wife is entitled to an equal share of the marital property, and debts accrued from community property are divided equitably between the couple. This ensures fair distribution of assets and debts in a divorce.

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