Oklahoma family law matters can cover topics such as divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, father’s rights, or many other issues. Knowing that these matters are emotional in nature and that they can have a long-lasting impact on the rest of your life (especially if children are involved), it is important to make sure you both understand the basics and get the Oklahoma family law advice you need from a professional. Here you can grasp a basic understanding of your Oklahoma family law case as well as connect with a local Oklahoma family law attorney or professional. We can connect you to a local expert – for free – so you can get started on obtaining your rights!
Oklahoma allows both fault based divorce and no-fault divorce (known as “incompatibility” in Oklahoma and found in Oklahoma statute at Title 43 Section 101). Grounds based divorces are difficult to prove which is why no-fault divorces are the most common type in Oklahoma. However, if a party wants to file for a grounds based divorce, he or she must prove one of a number of situations: adultery, abandonment for one year, impotency, or extreme cruelty, to name a few.
Residency and Waiting Requirements for Oklahoma Divorce
In order to file for divorce, Oklahoma law requires that at least one of the spouses have been a resident of Oklahoma for at least six months before the divorce petition is filed. When a couple filing for divorce has minor children, that parties are required to wait at least three months after filing before the divorce can be officially finalized by the court. However, waiting periods can be waived by a judge upon the agreement of both spouses, or upon the showing of good cause by one of the spouses. Upon the finalization of the divorce, a mandatory six month period is imposed before either party can remarry. However, exceptions exist allowing for remarriage before the 6 month period if the parties would like remarry one another, or in the case of party whose original spouse is deceased.
Division of Property
When it comes to division of property, Oklahoma is what is known as an “equitable division state.” This means that property is not necessarily divided on a 50/50 basis (although it normally is). Oklahoma family law judges have discretion to decide what they believe is subjectively fair. This allows a judge to let a spouse keep as their own personal property anything they may have inherited or purchased prior to the marriage. Factors that go into dividing property equitably are similar to those used to determine if alimony should be awarded to one spouse. Some of the main factors include: disability, earning capacity of the spouses, educational level of the spouses, whether a spouse was a stay at home parent, to name a few.
Oklahoma Child Support
In Oklahoma, child support award calculations are based on the number of children requiring support, as well as the combined gross monthly income of both parents. Oklahoma’s general child support laws provide for amounts of up to $15,000 a month in combined gross income, for couples with 6 or less children. When these amounts are exceeded, the court has broad discretion to determine what amount of child support should be awarded. Income assignment (which is the process of the court taking the payor spouses child support payment directly out of his or her paycheck), is the primary means through which child support payments are obtained.
However, income assignment can be waived if the parties can agree to an alternative payment arrangement or if one parent shows good cause for why income assignment should not be used. For most people who have an obligation to pay support, it is usually a good idea to allow income assignment as the state will record the payment so that there can be no disagreement on if a payment was made or not. Oklahoma provides for a child support calculator here.
Oklahoma Child Custody
The “best interests of the child” standard is employed by Oklahoma family law courts in order to determine child custody arrangements. Under this standard, the court will consider the best emotional, mental and physical custody arrangement for the child regardless of whether the parent is the mother or the father. In addition to that, the judge will carefully consider which of the parents is most likely to ensure and allow continued and consistent contact with the non-custodial parent. Oklahoma judges follow the rule that encouraging substantial contact with both parents and strive to make parenting plans that allow for both parents to spend quality time with their children.
This standard is followed whether the parents are going through a divorce or were never married. If parents were never married, it is necessary for a father to first determine paternity – the legal word for establishing yourself as the legal and biological father of a child. This process may involve genetic testing which is nothing more than painless cotton swabbing of your cheek to determine that you are the father.
Oklahoma Father’s Rights
Here at Family Law Rights, we understand the unique gender bias issues facing fathers attempting to gain custody or get a fair visitation schedule of their children. Though gender considerations are not supposed to be taken into account in Oklahoma child custody determinations, the reality is that at least historically, courts have favored mothers over fathers when granting custody. Begin preparing to get your father’s rights by being an important person in your child’s life. This means not only providing financial assistance, but being present for dinner, bathing a child, spending quality time with your child whenever possible. It also means not becoming a victim and avoiding pitfalls that can derail your case altogether.
What is My Next Step?
Getting a brief understanding of the laws and hoe they apply to your particular case is the first step toward fighting for your rights. The next step is determining if you need more help. If you do, we can connect you – for free – to a local Oklahoma family law attorney or professional that can assist you with more detailed information and a idea of how they can help.