One of the recurring questions family law attorneys in Tulsa, Oklahoma here is, “How long is the divorce going to take?” This is a fair question. After all, by the time you decide to get divorced you have most likely already been thinking about divorce for quite some time. You just want to be done at this point.
The short answer to the question is, “It depends.” As I have said before and will say many times more in the future, “Every divorce is as unique as the parties involved and their individual situations.” What this means is that your history, background and specific facts of your case are going to determine how long the divorce takes.
If you have children, 43 O.S. § 107.1 is going to control how quickly the Court can legally grant your divorce.
43 O.S. § 107.1 states that in an action for dissolution of marriage where the parties have minor children, the court is required to wait at least ninety (90) days from the date of filing the petition before issuing a final order. The court can waive this requirement if: (1) Neither spouse objects to the waiver or (2) the spouses have attended marital or family counseling and the court finds it unlikely that the spouses will resolve their differences.
The key to whether or not you can get the 90 days waived is that you both do not object or the court finds “good cause” that counseling has not helped and the marriage is over. What justifies “good cause” is left for another article on another day. Good cause is something that lawyers and judges argue over constantly. Therefore, this is something you would need a skilled family law trial attorney to assist you with. The attorney’s job is to convince the judge for you and to do so you need an advocate who is comfortable in the courtroom.
The law also allows for eight circumstances in which the 90 day waiting period does not apply. 43 O.S. § 107.1(b) lists the eight exemptions:
1. abandonment for one (1) year;
2. extreme cruelty;
3. habitual drunkenness;
4. imprisonment in a state or federal institution for a felony;
5. procurement of a final divorce decree without this state by a husband or wife which does not, in this state, release the
other party from the obligations of marriage;
6. insanity for a period of five (5) years with the insane person having been an inmate in a state institution for the insane
or a private sanitarium, and affected with a type of insanity with a poor prognosis for recovery;
7. conviction of a crime defined by the Oklahoma Child Abuse Reporting and Prevention Act upon a child of the parties; or,
8. where a child of either party has been adjudicated deprived, pursuant to the Oklahoma Children’s Code, as a result of
actions of the party, without the successful completion of the court-ordered service plan.
If you do not have children, then the Court can grant the divorce in as little as ten days after filing the divorce. This is the absolute fastest you can obtain a divorce in Oklahoma.
The time frames listed above assume that you and your soon to be ex actually agree on the divorce and have all the details ironed out before filing your divorce petition.
If, however, your divorce is contested, the time frame for completion can become enlarged. How long it takes really depends on your circumstances. If your spouse refuses to agree to anything, then we will have to go to court to seek an order of the court determining the issues in the divorce. If you and your spouse have a great deal of property and investments, this can cause the divorce to take longer because of the processes for redirecting and re-titling the property. Finally, if you have child custody, alimony, and child support arguments, this too can cause delay.
Divorce is generally an unplesant experience and many people just want to do whatever it takes to be done with it. However, even if your Oklahoma divorce is going to take longer than you think it should, remember this: the decisions you make during your divorce are going to follow you for the rest of your life and your children’s lives. You need to take the time to do it right and have an attorney who is fearless in the courtroom to protect you and your kids.
If you have any questions about divorce or would like to speak with an attorney regarding your divorce, contact the Denton Law Firm today by Email or by phone at: (918) 221-3999.
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