One of the most frequent questions asked by those considering divorce in Oklahoma concerns the division of marital property between spouses. Laws in various states vary on how marital property is divided in divorce. The division of property in Oklahoma is based on the concept of “equitable division“. This article provides an explanation of equitable division and how marital property is divided in an Oklahoma divorce.
What is Equitable Division?
Equitable division means property will be divided equitably between you and your spouse. This does not mean that property will be divided equally, but in a judicious manner according to various factors including the needs of your children and your individual contributions to the total amount of marital property.
Marital property consists of any assets or value of assets that were acquired during your marriage, either individually or jointly. With some exception, this excludes any property that was acquired before you got married or after you were permanently separated. Value added to your individual property by your joint endeavors during a marriage is marital property.
Also, anything that you individually inherited or received as a gift during marriage will be exempt from being classified as marital property. If those gifts are converted into joint property, such as by acquiring real estate or vehicles where the title is in both party’s name, it becomes marital property to be equitably divided.
Your debts will be handled in the same manner as your assets. Debts acquired during your marriage should be shared equitably between you and your spouse, while each of you will be individually responsible for any debt you personally acquired before you were married.
What is a Marital Settlement Agreement?
The division of marital property (and debt) is often agreed upon by divorcing spouses in what is referred to as a “Marital Settlement Agreement”, which also detail child support, child custody and spousal support arrangement. This agreement is then ordered and decreed by the courts in the Decree of Divorce, which confirms the termination of your marriage.
If you cannot come to an agreement on how you property will be divided, the court will divide you property for you. Typically, only your marital property will be divided, unless fairness or the best interest of your children requires them to go beyond marital property. In making this determination, the court will consider a variety of factors such as how long you have been married, your individual ages, individual incomes, your medical expenses, and the cost of childcare.
Prenuptial agreements are valid in Oklahoma and marital agreements may be employed to dictate the distribution of property during your divorce. However, the courts may choose to modify the terms of these agreements if it finds them to be unreasonable, improperly executed or counter to what is in the best interest of your children.
To summarize, property is divided in an Oklahoma divorce based on the principle of equitable property, which takes into consideration your individual contributions to marital property and the best interest of your children. Typically only marital property will be subject to distribution, unless fairness and the best interest of your children dictate otherwise. Marital and prenuptial agreements are allowed to dictate how property and debts are to be distributed, so long as these agreements meet the same a aforementioned criteria.
Free Consultation: Claremore Divorce Attorney
If a sudden divorce has caught you off guard and you’re concerned about protecting everything you’ve worked so hard to earn from being ripped away, it’s important you quickly reach out to a divorce attorney. An experienced divorce attorney can assist you in maintaining your current lifestyle after your divorce.
For a free consultation with an able Claremore divorce attorney, call (918) 213-0950 today. If you prefer e-mail, send us your question by using the form at the right side of this page.