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Your divorce requires careful preparation and the guidance of a divorce attorney well versed in Oklahoma divorce laws.  Even the simplest uncontested divorce will require a court filing, a division of assets and debts and a detailed documenting of all child custody and child support arrangements.

A major portion of the emotional stress of divorce is being involved in something that you do not understand. A potential divorce unleashes a variety of fears and concerns that may result in an inability to think clearly about financial settlements, personal needs, and the needs of children. We have prepared this primer as a brief overview on Oklahoma divorce to help clarify, explain and interpret the steps in the process.

Petitions

A detailed petition packed is filed that includes detailed information on your residency, marriage and grounds for divorce. Oklahoma has adopted the concept of “no-fault” divorce. It is not necessary to prove cruelty, adultery, abandonment or any other fault on the part of your spouse for the court to grant a divorce. A simple statement that you and your spouse have developed “irreconcilable incompatibility” is all that is required. “Irreconcilable incompatibility” is the legal phrase used to say that you and your spouse are no longer getting along. Either party can request a divorce without the other’s permission or agreement. You cannot stop a divorce from happening if your spouse wants one.

Temporary Orders

A spouse cannot be forced to pay money or to take other desired action unless there is a court case pending. This means a divorce case must be filed to obtain an order that requires your spouse to take specific action. We can ask the court to order support for you and/or the children, award you exclusive use of your vehicle and home, or provide various other forms of relief while the case is pending; the first step is to ask. Your spouse has an opportunity to object to your requests. A hearing will be held in the event you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on how to handle issues while the divorce is pending. The court will hear your evidence and make a decision on the temporary matters.

Voluntary support payments can set a precedent with both your spouse and the court. Talk to us about what is reasonable in your situation. Do not pay too much or accept too little. Tell the judge that these temporary amounts are fair.

Discovery

Discovery is the process of gathering information that will build and strengthen your case at trial. During discovery, you will gather favorable information about yourself for your attorney to present to the court. Methods used to gather information include: written discovery (interrogatories, requests for admission and the producing of documents) and depositions.

But equally important is anticipating your opponent’s case. Winning a favorable judgment means you have to be prepared to deal with the other party’s allegations.

Mediation

When parties are unwilling or unable to resolve a dispute, one option is to turn to mediation. Mediation is generally a short-term, structured, task-oriented, and “hands-on” process.

In mediation, the disputing parties work with a neutral third party, the mediator, to resolve their disputes. The mediator facilitates the resolution of the parties’ disputes by supervising the exchange of information and the bargaining process. The mediator helps the parties find common ground and deal with unrealistic expectations. He or she may also offer creative solutions and assist in drafting a final settlement. The role of the mediator is to interpret concerns, relay information between the parties, frame issues, and define the problems.

Pre-Trial Conference

A pre-trial conference is the final meeting between the two attorneys and assigned Judge. The attorneys exchange exhibits and witness lists, agree on what issues of fact are disputed (custody, property division, etc.) and set a trial date. It is difficult to admit additional exhibits and witnesses after this date, so it is very important to have all documents and witness information to your attorney well in advance.

Trial

If the involved parties cannot resolve the issues, a judge will decide them for you. Depending on the issues, this could take a few hours, or several days. Typically, a divorce in which every issue is contested will take from one to three days to complete.

Each party will have an opportunity to present his or her case to the trial judge. The trial judge will then make a decision, after which one of the lawyers will draft an order or judgment that incorporates the judge’s ruling. Once the judgment is signed and entered in the court record, (if the case was contested) either party may request an award of attorney fees, and either party may appeal the case. We are able to represent you in both of those disputes.

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