Fault vs. No-Fault Grounds For Divorce
In order to obtain a divorce in Oklahoma, you must have a legal reason to do so. This reason is commonly known as “grounds” for divorce.
Every divorce petition in Oklahoma must allege the grounds under which the party filing the petition is seeking to end the marriage.
Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 101 sets out the situations in which a divorce may be granted:
- abandonment for more than one year
- wife impregnated by another man at the time of the marriage
- extreme cruelty
- fraudulent contract
- incompatibility (if children are involved, additional requirements apply)
- habitual drunkenness
- gross neglect of duty
- imprisonment in a state or federal prison for a felony
- an invalid divorce decree within the state
- insanity for a period of five years in which the party is committed to an institution and has a poor prognosis for recovery.
Grounds for divorce must be alleged in the petition, but they may also be alleged in the answer to a petition. In fact, an answer may allege a different set of grounds altogether, making the divorce in Oklahoma a more difficult process. (See Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 106.)
Incompatibility as Grounds for Divorce
When incompatibility is alleged and there are children under the age of 18 involved in the marriage, the couple is required to attend an educational program regarding the effect of divorce on the children. The program may cover such things as co-parenting, the implications for visitation and conflict management, child development, separate financial responsibility, and other matters.
Although all of these grounds appear to require fault, incompatibility essentially allows couples to get a divorce for irreconcilable differences, the hallmark of “no-fault” divorce. Incompatibility means that a couple cannot get along well enough together to make the marriage work.
In order to obtain a “no-fault” divorce in Oklahoma, a couple must meet the residency requirements. The law requires that at least one of the spouses must have lived in Oklahoma for at least six months and that this spouse must also 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.
Divorce is a difficult time for all parties involved. It is a time when emotions can blind a person to what might be best for everyone concerned. This is especially true when “fault” is alleged as a legal ground for the divorce.
Choosing incompatibility as the legal grounds for the divorce can make the process less acrimonious. However, all divorces involve complex issues of property, assets, custody, and support. It is always best to get the help of an experienced Tulsa family law attorney when involved in a divorce proceeding.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Family Law Attorney
The Wirth Law Office 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.