While divorce is a scary process, you’re far from alone in living without a partner. In fact, more people than ever before are enjoying this freedom!
But before you can take the first step into the rest of your life, it’s important to learn and adhere to the state requirements for Oklahoma divorces. Read on to learn the legal length of residency requirements within state and county borders (and why these mandates matter to you.)
What Are Divorce Residency Requirements?
Every US state has residency requirements that people must meet to file for a divorce within state borders.
When you get a divorce, you file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in the local district court. This court must have the legal authority to rule on the divorce petition. The court’s power only holds over those within its jurisdiction. In order for the divorcing parties to legally obtain their divorce documents, they must have lived in that county for a pre-determined duration.
These residency requirements are the same in all counties across Oklahoma. While you need to have resided in the same county for a set period, Oklahoma regulates the laws so they’re the same across the board.
State Requirements for Oklahoma
To file for divorce in an Oklahoma county, the petitioner (the party suing for divorce) must have resided there for at least 30 days. Alternatively, the petitioner can file for divorce in any county where the respondent (the party being sued for divorce) resides. The separating couple would file for a divorce in the county District Court.
If you have been separated from your spouse and living in different counties for a while, you can file for a divorce in either county. You can choose between the two and file in the most convenient location.
Additionally, one of the spouses must also have lived in Oklahoma for six months. Even if they have only lived in the county for 30 days, they need to have lived in one or more other Oklahoma counties for 5 additional months.
Proving Length of Residency
Most courts in Oklahoma will accept either spouse’s sworn verification on court pleadings as proof of state or local residency. This means that either the Petitioner or Respondent can sign a legal document, under penalty of perjury, saying that they have lived there for the required period.
What If You Can’t Find Your Spouse?
In most divorce cases, this process is pretty straightforward. But unfortunately, divorce isn’t one-size-fits-all, and some people may be unable to locate their spouse prior to a divorce.
In Oklahoma, you can go to your county courthouse and request permission to publish a notice of the divorce. This notice would usually go in a newspaper. Doing this is called a “Motion to Serve by Publication or Posting.”
In order to do this, you need to be the spouse who meets residency requirements per Oklahoma divorce laws. You don’t know where your spouse is, so they can’t meet the requirement.
This process can get somewhat murky, so don’t try to DIY your divorce – it’s a recipe for expensive mistakes and failure. Get help from an experienced legal professional and learn how to find your spouse the right way.
What if a Spouse Leaves the State?
If one spouse leaves Oklahoma while the other remains, that’s no problem. You’d simply file in the jurisdiction of the partner that stayed. If both of you leave Oklahoma, you will file in a different state.
But this simple switch becomes very complicated when children are involved. Oklahoma has a Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to protect divorced parents.
If one spouse takes the children out of state, the partner in Oklahoma will have a six-month timeframe to file for divorce. If they don’t do so within six months, the Oklahoma-based person will need to contend with the jurisdiction of the other partner who’s holding onto the kids.
Just make sure to file for your divorce in Oklahoma as quickly as possible. This limits the likelihood of contending with bigger problems in the future.
Work With a Divorce Lawyer Today
Now that you know all about the length of residency in divorce proceedings and the state requirements for Oklahoma, it’s time to get started. Our team specializes in collaborative divorce, asset distribution, mediation, litigation and child custody cases.
We’re available to evaluate your case and discuss any questions that you have during a consultation. Contact us to schedule a chat about your upcoming divorce proceedings in person or via video conference.