What should I expect from a typical Oklahoma divorce?

If you and your spouse are nearing or have already reached an impasse that has led you to consider dissolving your marriage, you may be wondering what happens next? Divorce law differs from state to state and circumstances matter in the way it plays out. So, what will divorce look like for you? While it’s impossible to speak to a specific situation here, it is possible to explain the legal process of divorce in Oklahoma so that you feel more prepared.

General things to know

Oklahoma allows no-fault and fault-based divorces. Most divorces are no-fault divorces on grounds of irreconcilable differences or incompatibility. Other common grounds for divorce include gross neglect of duty, extreme physical or mental cruelty, abandonment for a year or longer and adultery.

In Oklahoma, couples negotiate 80% of divorce settlements through mediation. In mediation, you and your spouse, your respective attorneys, and a third-party mediator all meet to work through and resolve any issues in your divorce. The mediator acts as a facilitator and your lawyer is there to protect your interests and advocate for you. If mediation fails or is not the right fit for you due to extenuating circumstances, you can always proceed to court. However, this process works for many couples.

The divorce process

  • Once you or your spouse files a petition for the dissolution of marriage—as well as some other worksheets and documents—with the district county clerk, the county notifies the other spouse.
  • The party filing for divorce has the option to file a temporary order, which would restrain the other spouse from taking certain actions. This requires a court appearance and the spouse can respond with a counterclaim, but the issue is time sensitive. If you receive such a notification, notify your lawyer immediately.
  • If both parties agree to the divorce and agree to waive the 90-day waiting period, a divorce can be finalized just 10 days after filing. If there are children involved, the 90-day waiting period is mandatory. And if one of the spouses contests the divorce, a divorce can take much longer than 90 days.
  • Your divorce will be final the day it the judge grants it and the county clerk files the divorce decree.
  • The court prohibits you from cohabitating or remarrying for six months following a divorce in the state of Oklahoma.

This is a basic overview, but it is a good place to start. Your attorney and your own experience will no doubt prove to be excellent teachers in the days to come.