As of April 2nd 2020, Oklahoma Courts are Closed for Most Things
Video Transcribed: The coronavirus has closed our courts in Oklahoma, can you still get a divorce in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth and we’re about to talk about what you can and cannot do regarding a divorce during covid-19.
All right, so first off, the courts are closed for most things. If you go down there, there’s going to be security that’s going to see what your business is to see whether you can even get into the courthouse, but certain things are open.
We can do emergency filings, emergency custody, emergency guardianship, protective orders, bond hearings, anything that’s constitutionally required to be heard in a short period of time or anything that is designated as an emergency can be done.
So where does that fall within divorce. Well obviously, if there’s a protective order situation related to a divorce, you can still file for those.
If you’ve got kids that are in imminent danger of reparable harm, that’s the standard to get an emergency. You can do that inside a divorce. But those issues aside, what can you do? Well, you can still file.
The court clerk is open to receive filings and when you file a divorce and serve it on the other parties, certain orders go into place automatically. And that’s called the automatic temporary injunction. It’s part of the summons and it’s automatic.
When you file a divorce, you serve it with the summons and those orders automatically go into effect. So you can get some relief without getting a judge’s signature. It’s automatic under the statute.
And what that provides is that the parties need to do things pursuant to the normal course of business. It prevents one party from running with the kids out of state for more than a vacation time of two weeks.
It prevents parties from dissipating assets or creating assets and doing things like that. So it does provide some relief for you. Okay, so you can file, you can get it served, you can get the automatic temporary injunction in place. But what else can you do?
Well if there’s kids involved in Tulsa, normally you’re required to do a parenting plan conference and statewide you’re required to do the helping children with divorce seminar. Well we just got notice that at least two of the four judges in Tulsa are now accepting a substitute online of course for the helping children cope with divorce seminar and it’s actually through OSU and it’s called the co-parenting for resilience, helping parents to help their children, helping parents to help their children.
That’s through OSU and it can be completed online so you don’t have to have the crowd that you normally do when you’re going to the helping children cope with divorce seminars, so that’s one requirement that is resolved.
A parenting plan conference may be able to get a waiver on that or if you’ve already completed that, that’s not going to be an issue. Okay, from that point then it comes to, do we have an agreement? Do we not have an agreement?
If you do not have an agreement, most mediation services or at least some mediation services are still open, you can get those scheduled with or without your attorneys. You can sit down with a third party mediator to see if an agreement can be reached regarding terms.
If you already have an agreement or you reach one in mediation, then you can get an agreed order drafted up and there’s a good chance that you can get that entered even while the court is mostly closed.
There has been some judges that have been taking testimony through Skype or through FaceTime and signing off on agreed orders through email, so there’s a good possibility you can get it done if it’s agreed.
If you do the mediation, don’t have an agreement, still don’t have an agreement, what can you do? Well, as far as evidentiary hearings, temporary order hearings, final divorce trials, those things are on hold right now, but it shouldn’t be too much longer hopefully before we get those opened up, so you’ll want to be prepared for it at that time.
So long story short, should you sit and wait and do nothing during this time or should you be proactive? You’re probably better to be proactive. Get the automatic temporary injunction in place.
Get the helping children cope with divorce seminar out of the way online while you still can do it online, get the mediation done, maybe get an agreement or if not, then you’re set up and ready to go for a hearing once the courts are opened back up.
Here’s some general information for you. If you want specific information regarding your circumstances based on where you are in the divorce process, talk to an attorney. If you want a consultation with somebody at my office, go to makelaweasy.com.