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In Oklahoma, “marital property” is divided equitably. “Marital property” is property which was acquired by either spouse after the marriage with marital labor or funds earned during the marriage. It does not matter who holds title to the property, or who provides the funds for the property. Oklahoma law specifically allows the division of marital property regardless of how it is titled. Additionally, courts have consistently rejected any argument that if one spouse works while the other stays home, the working spouse should be entitled to the property accrued by their earnings. Except for gifts and inheritances received by a party during the marriage, there is a legal presumption that both parties equally contributed to marital assets.

Oklahoma is an “equitable” property division state. Equitable does not mean an equal division; rather, it means a fair division in terms of value. As a broad concept, Oklahoma law treats a marriage as a partnership, and all income earned and property acquired during the marriage is marital and should be fairly divided. Debts as well as assets will be considered. There is no fixed way to determine how either you or the court should divide your property. Factors that the court considers include the nature and extent of the property, the duration of the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse. Either party may contend, however, that some or all marital assets should not be equally divided. This usually happens when one or more of the following facts is present: (1) one party owned property before the marriage, which still exists, or is easily traceable to a current marital asset, and the party seeks a “credit” for all or part of the value of that property; and (2) there is strong evidence that one party did not make any substantial financial or non-economic contribution to the asset at issue. Other property disputes may arise when there is a disagreement about the value of real property, a business, or personal property, or a disagreement as to the allocation of debt.

Any retirement benefit earned during the marriage can be divided by the court in a divorce case. This includes pensions, profit sharing, individual retirement accounts, or any work-related benefit payable upon or after retirement.

Many clients worry what will happen to their assets after they file for divorce. The filing of a divorce petition and service on the opposing party puts in place an automatic temporary injunction, or ATI. This ATI is a court order that prohibits any party from dissipating marital funds, cancelling insurance, changing the beneficiaries named in retirement accounts, secreting the children, or opening the other party’s mail.

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