29 Jun Top 6 Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law In Oklahoma
Family law is a legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships such as marriage, adoption, divorce, and child custody, among others. Attorneys practicing family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or related negotiations. They can also draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements. If you have a family law issue, you might be wondering what kind of questions you should ask an attorney. The top question usually has to do with alimony.
In Oklahoma, What Are The Top 6 Questions Asked About Family Law?
In doing research, I found that when people start asking questions about family law, they are typically contemplating divorce. They are generally looking to prepare themselves for divorce proceedings. The most frequently asked questions are as follows:
Do I Qualify for Alimony?
The amount of support alimony you may receive in Oklahoma depends on the specific circumstances of your marriage. Support alimony is a “need-based” concept here, which means that there is a two-part test that the trial judge will use to determine how much one spouse should pay the other.
- First, the judge looks at things like employment income, investment revenue, and child support payments to assess what sort of resources are available to meet expenses.
- Second, they evaluate whether or not those resources are enough to cover recurring costs (e.g. mortgage/rent payments).
- The payor spouse’s ability to provide the requested support is then assessed by the judge, who takes into account his/her income and monthly expenses.
The idea behind support alimony today is one of transition, economically empowering the receiving spouse so that he/she can eventually become independent.
How Is Child Support Calculated?
In Oklahoma, child support is calculated using a specific statute that uses a chart and is based on certain circumstances. This statute relies on the “shared income” model where the gross monthly incomes of both parents are combined.
- Once this total sum has been found, locating it on the provided chart will reveal the set amount of child support required for one to six children.
- To calculate child support, we take into account each parent’s portion of the health insurance premium that is allocated to the children.
For work-related child care and medical expenses not covered by insurance (e.g. co-pays), we use each parent’s percentage for base child support. This results in a higher or lower child support payment, depending on the situation.
What Is the Community Property Law in Oklahoma?
Oklahoma is a “fair split” state, which means the trial judge has the option of dividing the property between spouses, taking into account if one spouse wasted marital property, removed funds just before the divorce was filed, and so on.
- It generally results in a fairly even split of the net estate, which is calculated by subtracting debts from assets.
- The term “marital estate” applies to any property that either spouse owned before the marriage, inherited during the marriage, or received as a gift.
However, if one spouse put separate property into a joint account with their partner or names their partner on the deed/title of said property, then it becomes classified as marital property.
What Is The Waiting Period To Be Divorced?
In most cases, if you do not have children with your spouse, you must wait ten days after filing the petition. If you and your spouse have a child from the relationship, you generally must wait ninety days.
- Depending on state law, there can be certain exceptions. One exception is if you and your spouse are engaged in marital or family therapy with no indication of reconciliation.
- You usually also have to wait longer if you entered into a “covenant” marriage.
A covenant marriage is a type of marriage where the couple agrees to seek counseling and take other measures to try to prevent divorce. Covenant marriages are not recognized in all states, but if you have one, it will usually add a six-month waiting period to the divorce process.
If We Do Not Agree On Custody, Who Gets The Children?
There is no statutory presumption for or against joint custody. The judge has the option of ordering equal access for both parents throughout the temporary order phase of the matter.
- The statute does not apply to final judgments and permanent custody awards.
- If the spouses are unable to come to an agreement on joint custody or a parenting plan, the court looks at their marital history. This would include who was previously responsible for childcare and bringing the children to school, the dentist, doctors’ appointments, and activities.
- The court also evaluates past conduct, any history of substance abuse or domestic violence, and the ability of each parent to provide a safe and loving home for the children.
- If you shared parenting responsibilities during the marriage, then it is likely that the trial judge will try to maintain that schedule.
Some judges award sole custody to mothers in paternity cases and joint custody to divorcing parents. Each judge has his or her standards and preferences for awarding custody, so it is important to know them before going to trial, or while negotiating a settlement.
How Does Oklahoma Decide What’s Best For A Child?
The court’s primary focus in all child custody cases should be what is best for the children. All custody decisions and visitation should aim to provide the children with a safe environment, good physical and mental health, happiness, and proper emotional development needed to grow into a healthy adult. As noted above, Oklahoma courts usually promote maintaining relationships with both parents, but will consider multiple factors to determine the ideal custody and visitation arrangement necessary to do so.
The Oklahoma Appeals Court has specified several elements that any family court must consider when deciding whether a certain custody arrangement is best for the child, including:
- What does the child want?
- What are the physical needs of the child (both now and in the future)?
- What are the emotional needs of the child (both now and in the future)?
- Any existing emotional or physical danger to the child.
- The parent’s plans for the child.
- The stability of the parent’s house as a whole.
- Reasons for the inappropriate relationship.
- The custody-seeking parent’s abilities to care for and raise children.
- For example, if the child is found alone or abandoned with no evidence of parental care or supervision, several indicators might suggest that the parent-child relationship may be faulty.
Parent-child relationships can be difficult to restore on your own, but with the help of a program, you can get back on track.
In Oklahoma, the top 5 questions asked about family law are:
1. Do I qualify For alimony?
2. How is child support calculated?
3. What is the community property law in Oklahoma?
4. What Is The Waiting Period To Be Divorced?
5. If We Do Not Agree On Custody, Who Gets The Children?
Alimony, or spousal support, is calculated based on many factors including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s earning capacity, and whether there are minor children involved.
Child support is generally based on the income of both parents and the time each parent spends with the child.
In Oklahoma, a judge divides up assets and debts as fairly as possible, which could mean that all property and debt acquired during the marriage gets divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce.
The waiting period to be divorced in Oklahoma is months from the date of filing.
If parents cannot agree on custody, the court will make a decision based on what is in the best interest of the child. Factors considered include the child’s wishes, physical and emotional needs, and each parent’s ability to care for the child.