Oklahoma Divorce Laws

Filing for divorce in Oklahoma is an emotionally draining process. One way to make it go just a little bit easier is to understand a bit about the laws surrounding the divorce process in Oklahoma before you begin.

Who Can File for Divorce and On What Grounds

In Oklahoma, an individual who is interested in filing for divorce must meet the state’s residency requirement. Either the defendant or the plaintiff in the case must be a resident in good faith for the six months prior to the divorce petition.

Oklahoma offers a no-fault divorce on the grounds of incompatibility. Those who are interested in filing a fault divorce can do so on the following grounds:

  • Abandonment for a period of one year
  • Adultery
  • Impotence
  • If the wife at the time of the wedding is pregnant by another man
  • Fraudulent marriage contract
  • Extreme cruelty
  • Habitual drunkenness
  • Insanity for five or more years
  • Imprisonment in a federal or state prison at the time when the petition is filed
  • Gross neglect of duty

If someone who is in the marriage is a member of the military and is posted or stationed in Oklahoma for six months, he or she is qualified to file for divorce in the state. However, all military family laws still apply. Because these can be somewhat complex, it is best to work with a military family law attorney when filing for divorce when someone is in the military.

Division of Property

Oklahoma divides property as an equitable distribution state. This means that property will be divided based on what the courts thing is fair, not necessarily what is equal between the parties. When making this determination, the courts will consider many factors. These are not outlined by law but are rather left to the discretion of the courts. If the property was purchased by one of the parties before marriage it may not be considered part of the marital estate.

Child Custody

Children who are facing a divorce are going to struggle with emotional issues. In order to ease some of this trauma, Oklahoma courts make decisions about child custody looking at what the child’s best interests are. This may or may not be a joint custody arrangement. A few rules govern this process. These include:

  • The courts should work to assure frequent and continuing contact with both parents as long as it is safe.
  • The courts will encourage parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing whenever possible.
  • The courts will not favor any one custody arrangement.
  • The courts will consider which parent is more likely to foster an ongoing relationship with the other parent by encouraging frequent and continuing contact.
  • The courts will not favor one parent over the other based on gender alone.


Spousal support is required in some Oklahoma divorces. This is decided on a case-by-case basis. The support, if required, can be paid out of property if the courts allow. The courts will also consider any pre-nuptial agreement between the parties.

When child support is warranted, the amount is figured based on the Income Shares Model. This figures the monthly amount by dividing the cost of care proportionally to both parent’s incomes. The non-custodial parent will then pay his or her amount to the custodial parent.

There can be a manner of deviation from this basic amount. The factors considered when determining if this is necessary include:

  • Premium for medical and dental insurance for the child
  • Child care expenses
  • Contributions for medical, transportation, and other costs