Every state, including Oklahoma, has divorce residency requirements that must be met in order to file for legal divorce or separation in that state. These requirements are meant to ensure that the court in which the action is filed is the correct one for the parties involved. The legal name for this is jurisdiction.
In order for the court to have the ability to determine a divorce proceeding, the court must have personal jurisdiction over the parties. An Oklahoma court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person for purposes of every aspect of divorce, alimony, support, and child custody — even when a person is not a resident of the state — as long as that person lived in Oklahoma in a marital or parental relationship. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 103.)
Divorce Residency Requirements
The question of when a party may file for divorce is related to the issue of residency. The law requires that at least one of the spouses must have lived in Oklahoma for at least six months. Also, that spouse must have resided in the county in which the divorce petition is filed for at least 30 days. The petition is filed in the District Court. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 102.)
The petition for divorce may also be filed in the county in which the responding party is a resident. So, a husband filing for divorce may file in either the county in which he is a resident or the county in which his wife lives (if that is different).
A Change of Location is Possible
Sometimes, one of the parties may want to change the location of the court in which the action is filed. This is called a change of venue. If the location is or becomes inconvenient, a party may ask the court to change the location for the divorce action. This is often done after the initial filing. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 103.)
In general, the court will grant a party’s application for a change of venue when the other party is not a resident of this state at the time the application is filed, or when one of the parties has left the state and been absent for at least six months before the other party filed for divorce. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 103.)
Sometimes, questions regarding residency and jurisdiction are straightforward. However, in this mobile society, they are often more complex. Get the help you need for the questions and concerns you have.
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