Legal grounds or “reasons” for divorce vary quite a bit from state to state. Basically, these grounds for divorce in Oklahoma are based in either one spouse’s fault, or what is commonly called “no-fault” or incompatibility.
Fault vs No-Fault Grounds For Divorce
Oklahoma is a state that has both “fault” and “no-fault” divorce. When filing a petition for divorce, you must state the legal reason for the divorce. Alleging that a spouse is at fault requires proof of that fault. Over time, most divorces have moved from alleging a spouse’s “fault” to alleging incompatibility. This makes divorce less acrimonious, and often less expensive.
These grounds are all acceptable for divorce under Oklahoma law:
- abandonment for more than one year;
- wife impregnated by another man at the time of the marriage;
- extreme cruelty;
- fraudulent contract;
- incompatibility (if children are involved, additional requirements apply);
- habitual drunkenness;
- gross neglect of duty;
- imprisonment in a state or federal prison for a felony;
- an invalid divorce decree within the state; and
- insanity for a period of five years in which the party is committed to an institution and has a poor prognosis for recovery. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 101
Fault Divorces Can Be Messy
Grounds for divorce must be alleged in the petition, but they may also be alleged in the answer to a petition. Fault must be proven, which makes these divorces complex and messy. When one spouse alleges adultery and the other claims extreme cruelty, both grounds must be proven. That includes the calling of witnesses and introducing documentary and other evidence, making the divorce a more difficult process. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 106
Incompatibility as Grounds for Divorce
No-fault divorces do not require the same level of proof. Both spouses simply allege they are no longer sufficiently compatible as a couple to make the marriage work. This allows the couple to go on to the other issues that must be decided, such as property and debt division, and issues regarding custody and support of the children, if there are any in the marriage.
When incompatibility is alleged and there are children under the age of 18, the couple is required to attend classes on the effect of divorce on the children. These classes may make divorce easier for everyone, especially for the children. The classes often cover such things as co-parenting, the implications for visitation and conflict management, child development, separate financial responsibility, and other matters. Covering these topics can help a couple move through a divorce more smoothly.
Divorce is a difficult time for all parties involved. It is a time when emotions can blind a person to what might be best for everyone concerned. This is especially true when “fault” is alleged as a legal ground for the divorce. The trend toward no-fault divorces can ameliorate a large amount of the acrimony that is typical in a fault-based divorce. However, all the issues that drove a couple apart can still make the divorce process difficult to handle on your own.
And, all divorces involve complex issues of property, assets, custody, and support. It is always best to get the help of an experienced Okmulgee family law attorney when involved in a divorce proceeding.
Free Consultation: Okmulgee Family Law Attorney
Divorce is a messy and difficult process. Whether you are contemplating a divorce or are in the middle of one, you need a lawyer to help you understand the divorce process and how it may affect you.
It’s time to reach out for a confidential, no-cost consultation with an Okmulgee family law attorney. Simply call (918) 756-9600, or toll-free (888) Wirth-Law now for a consultation with an Okmulgee, Oklahoma lawyer at the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee.
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