In the Oklahoma divorce process, an action for divorce begins with filing the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The person filing for the divorce is the Petitioner and the party responding to the proceeding is the Respondent. 43 O.S. §105.
Oklahoma Divorce Process: Filing The Petition
The Petition is the lawsuit for the divorce. A divorce in Oklahoma cannot be granted without a party beginning the proceeding by filing the Petition.
Oklahoma is a “notice filing” state. This means that the pleadings simply have to put the other party on notice of the action. There are some exceptions to this general rule. A party does not have to plead each and every fact that entitled them to the relief requested.
Generally, a Petition includes the following:
- The Jurisdiction Requirements;
- The date the parties were married;
- The ground for filing the divorce; and
- The parties requested relief as to property division, alimony and the payment of attorneys’ fees.
If the parties have minor children, then the Petition will also include the following:
- The number of children that are under the age of majority, those children’s names or initials, and when the children were born;
- Required information regarding the jurisdiction of the child; and
- The parties requested relief as to custody, visitation, and child support for the minor children.
The Petitioner must verify the Petition as true. 43 O.S. §105. The verified Petition is filed with the Court Clerk in the county where jurisdiction is proper. The filing fee for the Petition is the same regardless of which county the Petition is filed in. Oklahoma divorce filing fees are set by statute and are subject to change by the legislature.
Oklahoma Divorce Process: Issuing The Summons
In most cases, along with the Petition, a Summons is issued. The Summons is the document that provides notice to the Respondent of the lawsuit and his/her respective rights. The Summons must be served on the Respondent.
In most cases, a private process server personally serves the Summons on the Respondent. Proper service is set by the Rules of Civil Procedure.
There are some exceptions to the general rules regarding personal service. The Respondent can also elect to waive his/her right of service by signing a Waiver of Service. The date in which the party signs the Waiver is equivalent to the date a party is served for purposes of response time and other time requirements.
43 O.S. §110 provides that upon filing of the Petition by the Petitioner and upon proper service of the Petition and Summons upon the Respondent, the Automatic Temporary Injunction is in effect against both parties.
The Automatic Temporary Injunction is specific and restricts parties from doing various things that would be detrimental the marital estate or the parties’ minor children. The Automatic Temporary Injunction also requires each party to exchange certain financial information within 30 days of the serving of the Summons.
It is common but not necessary for the attorney representing the Petitioner to file an Entry of Appearance. An Entry of Appearance is to put everyone on notice that a family law attorney represents the party and provides the proper contact information. Every pleading filed by the divorce attorney has the attorney’s contact information; therefore, the Entry of Appearance is not necessary.
It is also common for an Application for Temporary Order to be filed at the same time the Petition is filed. The Temporary Order process is a major part of the divorce proceeding and will be discussed at length in a separate article.
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.