The following article provides an overview of the Oklahoma divorce process along with jurisdiction and grounds for divorce in Oklahoma.
If a party is seeking a divorce in Oklahoma from their current spouse, he/she must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Where a party files for divorce depends on which court has jurisdiction over the parties.
Oklahoma divorce laws (43 O.S. § 102) require either the Petitioner or the Respondent to be an actual resident of the state of Oklahoma for six months preceding the filing of the Petition, and a resident of the county in which he/she files for 30 days preceding the filing of the Petition.
Oklahoma Divorce Grounds
The Petition pleads various things including the parties’ request for applicable relief. During the divorce process, the Petitioner must state one of the 12 divorce grounds in Oklahoma provided by statute. (43 O.S. § 101)
The district court may grant a divorce for any of the following causes:
- Abandonment for one (1) year.
- When the wife at the time of her marriage was pregnant by another than her husband.
- Extreme cruelty.
- Fraudulent contract.
- Habitual drunkenness.
- Gross neglect of duty.
- Imprisonment of the other party in a state or federal penal institution under sentence thereto for the commission of a felony at the time the petition is filed.
- 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.
- Insanity for a period of five (5) years, the insane person having been an inmate of a state institution for the insane in the State of Oklahoma, or inmate of a state institution for the insane in some other state for such period, or of a private sanitarium, and affected with a type of insanity with a poor prognosis for recovery; provided, that no divorce shall be granted because of insanity until after a thorough examination of such insane person by three physicians, one of which physicians shall be a superintendent of the hospital or sanitarium for the insane, in which the insane defendant is confined, and the other two physicians to be appointed by the court before whom the action is pending, any two of such physicians shall agree that such insane person, at the time the petition in the divorce action is filed, has a poor prognosis for recovery; provided, further, however, that no divorce shall be granted on this ground to any person whose husband or wife is an inmate of a state institution in any other than the State of Oklahoma, unless the person applying for such divorce shall have been a resident of the State of Oklahoma for at least five (5) years prior to the commencement of an action; and provided further, that a decree granted on this ground shall not relieve the successful party from contributing to the support and maintenance of the defendant. The court shall appoint a guardian ad litem to represent the insane defendant, which appointment shall be made at least ten (10) days before any decree is entered.
There is case law on the 12 grounds that provide some exception and precise terms required to plead a specific ground.
No-Fault Divorce in Oklahoma
Although there are 12 separate grounds for dissolution of marriage, there is one ground that is pleaded with substantial majority.
Most Petitioners seek a divorce based on ground seven: incompatibility. The reason is because compatibility is a “no-fault” ground.
The party seeking the divorce only has to prove that the parties no longer are able to stay married, whereas the other Oklahoma divorce grounds require the party to produce evidence as to the ground they seek a divorce under.
None of the grounds affect the type of divorce that is granted. The trial court can grant the divorce on any ground that has been pled or proven. For example, if a party filed for divorce on ground on adultery, the trial court can grant the divorce on grounds of incompatibility.
Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer
If you are a man facing divorce in Oklahoma, please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction to ensure your rights are protected. Cordell & Cordell has offices and family law attorneys located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa and licensed to practice throughout the state should you seek additional information or possible legal representation.