A common question is, “What is property division in an Oklahoma divorce?”
When a couple divorces in Tulsa, one of the tasks that must be taken care of the division of marital property and marital debt.
What is Marital Property?
Marital property is usually considered to be that property acquired during the marriage. This can include the family home, cars, cash, investments, and personal property such as furniture or jewelry.
Generally, separate property is that property acquired outside of or before the marriage.
There are some exceptions.
For example, if a spouse obtains an inheritance, that inheritance is that spouse’s separate property. That is generally true, even if the inheritance occurs during the marriage.
In an Oklahoma divorce, courts must address the issue of marital property. That means that a divorce decree must confirm each spouse’s separate property obtained by them before the marriage as well as all confirming the division of all property obtained during the marriage between the divorcing partners. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 121
Oklahoma is a state that focuses on dividing marital property in a way that is equitable between divorcing spouses. Equitable does not always mean equal.
A family court judge will consider what each partner contributed to the marriage as well as what each spouse needs in order to move on from the marriage. The court may set apart a portion of the separate estate of one of the spouses to the other spouse for the support of the children of the marriage where custody resides with that spouse.
If the children will live with one of the spouses, the judge may wish to allow that spouse to maintain the family home if at all possible. This may be done even if that spouse may be given more than 50% of the marital property at the time of the divorce.
Alternatively, the judge may order the property to be confirmed to one spouse until the last child of the marriage turns 18. Then, the property will be sold, and the proceeds divided between the two spouses.
The division may not be equal between the spouses, but it will be just and fair.
Valid Prenuptial Agreements
If the parties have executed a valid prenuptial agreement that addresses how marital property is to be divided upon divorce, the court will make the division according to the terms of the agreement.
In some cases, a judge may declare that a prenuptial agreement is invalid. A Tulsa family law attorney can help you determine whether your existing prenup can hold up in an Oklahoma divorce court.
If there is not a valid prenuptial agreement, then the court must divide the property in a just and reasonable manner. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 121
Alimony and Property Division
The court may order alimony for a spouse who needs it.
Alimony may be awarded from the real and personal property of the other spouse according to the court’s discretion to provide a just and equitable division of property.
Alimony may also be allowed from the other spouse’s income or other assets. Alimony can be paid in a lump sum or in installments.
The Division of Pensions and Other Benefits
The court may also divide retirement accounts, pensions, and other benefits according to the amount that accrued during the marriage.
A spouse who was married for a short time will likely be entitled to a smaller amount of a pension, while a spouse married for 20 years may be entitled to more of the other spouse’s pension or other benefits.
The division of property is one of the most complex and important aspects of an Oklahoma divorce. It is imperative that you seek the help of an attorney to help the court understand all the assets and needs of the parties involved in your divorce.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Family Law Attorney
Wirth Law Office – Tulsa is here to help when you need it most. We offer a free consultation with an experienced Tulsa family law attorney.
Call 918-879-1681 for a free consultation or submit a question through this website.