Does divorce always have to be difficult? Maybe not.
Divorce is rarely easy and never fun. However, we also believe that with the right representation and a basic understanding of divorce in Oklahoma, the process can be much smoother.
The rumor mill surrounding divorce tends to tell us a few tall tales - some based on what used to be considered the norm. In this first “episode” of our Divorce series, we're going to tackle a few of the biggest (and most broadly asked about) topics regarding divorce in Oklahoma.
1: The kiddos: If there are children involved, they are always the priority.
“The best interest of the child shall always be the primary consideration of the court in determining the issues of conservatorship and possession of and access to the child.” — Sec. 153.002. Best Interest Of Child
This is important to remember. The best interest of the child will include both you and your spouses living situations, your history of meeting the child's emotional and physical needs, criminal backgrounds, and so on.
Common myth debunked: Mothers typically get full custody.
- While we often hear people say family courts lean in favor of the mother when it comes to full custody, this is not necessarily the case. If a mother isn't a good parent, and the father is, the court will rule in favor of the father. It comes down to overall ability to protect, care for, and provide for that child's needs in a safe and healthy environment.
2. The money: In Oklahoma, debts and assets are not automatically divided 50/50.
States like Texas are what we call a “community property state” meaning that debts and assets are automatically divided 50/50. This is not the case in Oklahoma. Obviously, depending on your situation, this can be either good or bad. But what is good is that this means in Oklahoma, a variety of circumstances can determine how debts are divided. Factors such as “who contributed what” during the marriage, whether one spouse primarily worked and the other took care of children, and what the situation will be moving forward all carry weight in a court-decided scenario.
Common myth debunked: Division must be decided in court.
- Actually, if you and your spouse can agree, the division of debts and assets can be entirely up to the both of you. The big kicker there is if you can both agree. Often, divorce begins amicable and takes a turn for the worst when either party begins the comprehend the reality of the situation. Bitterness can bloom, feelings get hurt, emotions run high, and boom - you're suddenly in a contested divorce and tons of expenses. Our advice: hire the right attorney who can advise you and keep your costs down as low as possible.
3. Spousal support: Who gets it?!
While traditionally, women stayed home more often, whether to take care of the children or provide a safe and healthy home, nowadays, the roles are often reversed. Women are breadwinners and fathers are stay-at-home-dads, or perhaps both parties work equally outside of the home and bring in a similar income. This means a man could potentially receive spousal support, or there could be no spousal support given on either side.
Common myth debunked: Alimony depends on how long you've been married.
- Many are surprised to hear that the length of your marriage really doesn't determine alimony. Alimony depends on two primary factors: the need of a spouse, and the other spouse's ability to pay. That's what it comes down to, and that can go for either spouse, no matter the gender.
Touch back with us next time for part two: Child Custody in Oklahoma: What influences the court system?
If you have any questions or you're currently in need of a family law attorney, call our office at 405-360-8036 to schedule a consultation.