There’s Not a Huge Difference Between Legal Separation or Separate Maintenance Filing and a Divorce Filing
Video Transcribed: What is the jurisdictional requirement to file a separate maintenance or legal separation case in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and I’m answering frequently asked questions on Oklahoma family law. And that’s the question is when can you file a legal separation case in Oklahoma?
All right, so we talked about, in a prior video, divorce. That requires residency of six months in the state of Oklahoma and 30 days in the county that you’re filing in, in order to file. Sometimes, if people aren’t in that circumstance, yet, they haven’t gotten the six months, yet, they revert to do a legal separation instead because, under Oklahoma law, there’s no prior residency requirement in order to file.
So as long as you’re a resident at the time that you file, you don’t have to establish that you were for the six months prior. So if you want to get it filed more quickly, you don’t want to wait the six months, you can file the legal separation now, and then potentially you can file to amend it to a divorce, after the six month period has passed, giving the court full divorce jurisdiction.
And there’s not a huge difference between legal separation or separate maintenance filing and a divorce filing. Both of those cases get to decide all the issues regarding custody, visitation, child support, asset, debt division, attorney’s fees, all of that stuff, spousal support, all of that stuff. So the only difference is, at the end of a divorce case, the marriage is dissolved. At the end of the legal separation case, the marriage continues on.
So it’s not that cumbersome to file as a legal separation and then convert it, later, if there’s a good reason to do that because the jurisdictional requirement for a legal separation is only residency at the time of filing. If you’ve got any questions about that or your circumstances, you’re going to want to talk to an Oklahoma attorney about it. You can talk to somebody at my office by going to makelaweasy.com.