June 12, 2023
When you got married, more than likely, you expected it to be forever. You never imagined that your love could come to an end. Unfortunately, maybe it has met its end, and you’re ready to call it quits. But there’s one problem. You’re in Oklahoma, but your marriage took place in a different state. Can you file for divorce in a separate state from where your marriage occurred? If you’re in this predicament, keep reading to learn more about Oklahoma divorce and residency laws.
In general, you may file for a divorce in any state where you meet its residency requirements. In other words, your divorce doesn’t have to be filed in the same state as where your marriage occurred. You might be wondering why there are residency requirements at all. Well, the short answer is that there are residency requirements so that neither you nor your spouse can select a specific state just to receive a better outcome in your divorce.
As you probably know, Oklahoma is a community property state, but not every state is. Let’s suppose that a couple resides in a non-community property state, but one spouse is determined to get half of all marital property. Without modern residency requirements, a spouse could drive to a community-property state like Oklahoma, file a divorce petition, and not have had anything else to do with Oklahoma. This spouse hasn’t benefited the state in any fashion but still intends to benefit from its laws. This sort of forum shopping is exactly what divorce courts don’t want.
So, your next question might be, “Well, what are the residency requirements for Oklahoma, and how do they affect me?” Oklahoma law insists that you be a resident of our glorious plains for a minimum of six months before you file. The law specifies that you must be an actual resident in good faith. This is another way of saying that you can’t come to Oklahoma and wait to meet the six months mark just so you can file for an Oklahoman divorce. Proof of your residency can include, but isn’t limited to:
There is an exception to this rule. If you’re active military and you’ve been stationed in Oklahoma for six months, then you’re entitled to file for an Oklahoman divorce. Other nuances might apply to your residency status, such as if you’re a married student who’s only in the state for educational purposes. Because of the complexities that might arise, you should contact knowledgeable Oklahoma divorce attorneys who are skilled at handling this type of divorce. That’s where our law firm comes in. Call us for a consultation at (405) 724-2525 or reach us online.
Now that you know you don’t have to file your divorce in the same state where your marriage occurred, you should also know how this type of divorce might impact the proceeding. As mentioned earlier, Oklahoma is a community property state. This means that—exceptions aside—you’ll keep any property that was yours before your marriage. On the other hand, a judge divides any property attained during your matrimony. A judge won’t necessarily split the property 50-50. Instead, a judge will look to who the main earner was, who’ll have primary custody of the children if you have any, and certain other factors to make this determination.
It’s likely that your spouse will contest the divorce. Maybe because of a disagreement about filing in Oklahoma, or perhaps it’s over a disagreement about the divorce terms, in general. Either way, you can expect your divorce case to take a little longer than some others might take, simply because of the evidence that’s required to prove that you’re an actual resident and not forum shopping. Also, depending on where your spouse resides, there might be issues or concerns regarding travel expenses, hotel costs, and more.
For more information on which state applies to your divorce, you should be in contact with a family law attorney. With over 17 years of experience, Inner Vision Legal is rated as one of Oklahoma’s best divorce law firms. We will analyze your situation and provide you with clarity on your options. Contact us at Inner Vision Legal by calling (405) 724-2525 or contacting us online.