A Guide to Filing for Divorce in Oklahoma
When you file for divorce in Oklahoma, one of the best things you can do is to arm yourself with the information you’ll need to see you through the process from start to finish.
Divorce can be intimidating and disruptive on many levels, and the best way to minimize the impacts on your life is to do your homework so that you can best protect yourself as you try to move to the next chapter.
To give you the best chance at a fair outcome for your divorce, you need to understand the rules and processes that will govern your case in Oklahoma.
Let’s jump into it…
- Gathering Your Important Financial Information
- Understanding Your Options for Divorce
- Filling Out the Necessary Forms
- Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
- Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce in Oklahoma
Gathering your important financial information
No matter your circumstances, you will benefit from being organized at the outset when it comes to tracking down the financial documentation that you’ll need.
If you’re curious about how to handle your finances throughout and after the divorce process See our Guide to Divorce Financial Planning to get all of your questions answered.
Many parts of divorce can be overwhelming, so any steps you can take to save time and reduce stress and anxiety should be a priority for you early in the process.
To help you gain a better understanding of the types of documents and information you’ll need to pull together, we’ve created a great Divorce Information Checklist you can check out here.
What are your options for divorce?
It is in your best interests to fully understand all of your options when you are thinking about getting a divorce. The path that you ultimately take will be determined by the relationship you have with your spouse.
Deciding whether to pursue an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma or attempting to negotiate a settlement through a cooperative effort of some sort could save you a lot time and money, making it easier for you to transition to life as a single person.
For an overview of what you can expect with the various paths to divorce, check out our article “What are the Types of Divorce.” This will help you to reach a decision about what divorce option will work best for you.
Fill Out the Necessary Forms
In addition to a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, may need to complete and submit several other documents as part of your divorce. What you need to submit will depend on your individual circumstances but you may also need to provide:
- Domestic Relations Cover Sheet
- Petition for Divorce
- Automatic Temporary Injunction Notice
- Marital Settlement Agreement
- Financial Affidavits
- Child Support Schedule
- Child Support Worksheet
- Entry of Appearance and Waiver of Service
- Notice of Final Hearing
- Decree of Divorce
When your paperwork is complete, you will take it to the Clerk’s Office in the county court where you live and file it. You will also need to pay filing fees when you do so. To file for divorce in Oklahoma, either you or your spouse must be a resident of Oklahoma for at least 6 months.
If your spouse lives out of state or is in the military, check with the court personnel to see what special rules apply.
After filing, you must serve your spouse with copies of the divorce papers to legally make them aware of the divorce petition.
Serving Your Spouse With Divorce Papers
In Oklahoma, you must provide copies of all documents related to the divorce to your spouse after filing your paperwork. This is called proof of service.
You can use a professional process server or a county sheriff. The server will complete the service and complete a proof of service document that will be filed with the court. The document will note the time and date that service was completed.
This is important because a spouse will have 20 days to respond to the complaint from that time. They can either respond with a default which is no response to the petition, an uncontested response, or a contested response.
If you can’t find your spouse to provide them with documents, you can then proceed with proof of service through Divorce by Publication. You will need to submit an Affidavit of Diligent Search to the court which states that you have made reasonable and ongoing efforts to locate your spouse without success. After they approve it, you will publish a divorce notice in a local newspaper to satisfy proof of service.
Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Divorce in Oklahoma
How much does it cost to file for a divorce in Oklahoma?
Fees to file for divorce in Oklahoma will vary slightly from county to county, but will be around $180 to $185. This is for a filing without any minor children. There are also additional fees if the paperwork needs to be served by a process server or a sheriff.
If you have children, you may be required to pay for mandatory parenting classes, or the court may require a professional custody evaluator to help you to resolve child custody and visitation issues.
Can divorce fees be waived in Oklahoma?
If you are not able to pay your filing fees, then it may be possible to ask a judge to waive the fees for your divorce by filing a Pauper’s Affidavit.
Can I file for a divorce online in Oklahoma?
There are services that can assist you in completing the documents you’ll need to submit for a divorce. To officially start the divorce process, you will need to file your papers in person at the local county courthouse.
Also, before a divorce can be finalized, you will need to attend a court hearing at which point the judge will grant your divorce as long as everything is in order.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Oklahoma?
After a petitioner files documents with the court, in an uncontested divorce, it can take as little as 10 days to have a final dissolution approved, as long as no minor children are involved.
If children are involved, the state is required to wait 90 days from the date that the divorce petition was filed before it can issue a final divorce order. This 90-day waiting period allows parents to attend marriage and family counseling to see if there is any way to resolve differences and avoid the end of the marriage.
The judge can also waive the 90-day waiting period if:
- Neither party objects
- The court has “good cause” to believe that after counseling, it is still unlikely that you will ever resolve your difference.
The law allows the court to waive the 90-day waiting period under the following conditions:
- Extreme cruelty
- Abandonment for one year or longer
- Habitual drunkenness
- Imprisonment on felony charge, state or federal
- The procurement of a final divorce decree without this state by a husband or wife, which does not in this state release the other party from the obligations of the marriage.
- Internment in a state institution for the insane for a period of 5 years or more
- Conviction of child abuse
- A child of either party has been adjudicated deprived, pursuant to the Oklahoma Children’s Code, as a result of the actions of either party to the divorce and the party has not successfully completed the service and treatment plan required by the court.
What are the residency requirements to file for a divorce in Oklahoma?
To file for divorce in Oklahoma, either the plaintiff or the defendant must have been an actual resident, in good faith of the state for at least six months before the filing of the petition.
Can I file for divorce in Oregon without using a lawyer?
Yes. If your divorce is uncontested and you agree on all settlement issues, you can go through the divorce process in Oklahoma without using a lawyer.
But if you have disagreements that are unresolved, to protect yourself legally, it is wise to get help from a qualified family law attorney.
Can I get a divorce in Oklahoma if I am pregnant?
Yes. Oklahoma allows a spouse to get a divorce if she is pregnant as long as all other requirements are met.
Oklahoma requires that divorcing couples establish residency at least 6 months before filing for divorce. Because of that, this option is mostly used by couples where the wife has recently become pregnant.
How is my divorce affected if I am a member of the military in Oklahoma?
In some ways, military divorce in Oklahoma are the same as civilian divorces. But in other respects, there are some notable differences.
It’s best to file a divorce in the United States even if deployed overseas. Military divorce laws allow service members and their spouses to file for divorce in:
- The state where the nonmilitary spouse resides
- The state where the service member is currently stationed
- The state where the service member claims legal residency.
Under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, active military members are protected from default judgements while on active duty. This protection was put in place because the prevailing thought is that no servicemember should be distracted by legal issues such as a divorce while actively serving in another state or country. Although this protection is in place, a servicemember may choose to waive delaying the divorce by signing off on paperwork that allows the divorce to proceed uncontested.
The grounds for a military divorce in Oklahoma are the same as they are for a civilian divorce.
But in addition to state property division laws, the federal government has established the Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) that governs how military retirement benefits are calculated and divided when a divorce takes place.
The terms of this act determine how the direct payment of a portion of a military retiree’s pay is given to the former spouse. A key element is that the former spouse must have been married to the former servicemember for a minimum of 10 years while the military member has served on active duty.
In addition to a division of assets, child support and spousal support are handled differently than in a civilian case. Federal law dictates that these awards may not exceed 60% of a servicemembers pay and allowances.
A former spouse who has not remarried may receive medical, commissary, exchange and theater privileges under the Morale, Welfare and Recreation program if he or she meets the requirements of what is known as the 20/20/20 rule:
- The former spouse was married to the military member for at least 20 years at the time of the divorce, dissolution or annulment.
- The military member has performed at least 20 years of service that is creditable in determining eligibility for retired pay (the member does not have to be retired from active duty).
- The former spouse was married to the member during at least 20 years of the member’s retirement-creditable service.
Former spouses may also be entitled to TRICARE medical coverage if he or she meets certain requirements.
Looking for more great tips about filing for divorce? Check out a few of our favorite resources:
- How to File for Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce
- What Are The Types of Divorce
- How Should I Prepare for Divorce