Tulsa Attorney BlogHow to Get a Divorce in Oklahoma

Hire an Attorney to Draft Pleadings

Video Transcribed: “How to get divorced in Oklahoma,” that’s a phrase that’s searched 260 times a month on Google. I’m Tulsa Divorce Attorney James Wirth, and I’m going to try to answer what information the people that search for that may be looking for.

So how to get a divorce in Oklahoma? Well, it is a court proceeding. Unlike a common law marriage where you can enter it outside of court, there’s no such thing as a common-law divorce. You have to go to court. You have to get a judge to sign off on a dissolution of marriage in order to dissolve that marriage.

Okay, so how do you do that? Well, you draft pleadings. And you either do that on your own, with a drafting service or hire an attorney. And the first thing you’re going to want to file is a petition for the dissolution of marriage. You may also want, with that, an application for temporary orders.

You take that petition for dissolution of marriage along with the drafted summons, and you’re going to file that with the court clerk and they’re going to charge you a filing fee, around 270 bucks. If you can’t afford the filing fee, you may be able to fill out a pauper’s affidavit which, if approved by a judge showing that you’re indigent, the judge may approve that and then you don’t have to pay that filing fee.

So you get that petition on file, then you have to serve the other party. And you got to do that by process server, certified letter; those are the two primary ways that you can get service. Under the right circumstances, after you do due diligence, you may be able to request, through a motion to the judge, approval to do service by publication. In which case, once that’s approved, you publish it a proper number of times in a legal newspaper and then file proof of that with the court.

So whatever it takes, you get service. Once the other party is served, they’ve got 20 days to file a responsive pleading. And they can do that in the form of an answer, or an answer and counterclaim.

If they don’t file a responsive pleading within 20 days, you can file a motion for default judgment saying that because they are not proceeding in this matter after being properly served, the court should grant you what you want without hearing from the other side. So those, if they are in default, you do have proof of proper service, then the court should grant that as long as what you’re requesting is reasonable.

If they do file an answer, then at that point you go through the court proceedings. Usually, it goes to … If there are children involved and it’s Tulsa County, you go to a parenting plan conference. If somebody filed an application for a temporary order, it goes to a temporary order hearing. If there are no agreements at that phase, then mediation is ordered in Tulsa County prior to a final trial.

If there’s no agreement still at mediation, you either complete discovery before or after mediation, you go to pretrial, and then a trial. So if no agreement is reached anywhere throughout that process, then at the pretrial conference you’re likely to get a court date. Could be as long as six to eight months out, depending on how backlog they are. And then you put on an evidentiary hearing before the judge and the judge makes his rulings that need to be drafted up as part of a court order.

However, most of the time it doesn’t go that far. Most of the time, somewhere in the process, a complete settlement is reached. In which case, that is drafted up in the form of a decree of dissolution of marriage and then both parties sign off on that and you can enter it as an agreed order with the judge.

The only thing is for an agreed order decree with the judge dissolving the marriage, you’d have to make sure that the waiting period has passed. So if there are minor children involved, the waiting period is 90 days from the date the petition is filed to when the court can enter a decree dissolving the marriage. If there are no minor children, the waiting period is only 10 days.

So that is a lot of information. And there are a lot more things you may need to know, depending on the specifics of your case. So for that, you’re going to want to consult with an Oklahoma divorce attorney. To speak with somebody at my office, you can to makelaweasy.com.

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