One of the most frequent questions asked by those considering divorce in Oklahoma concerns the division of property between spouses. States vary on how marital property is divided in divorce. The division of property in an Oklahoma divorce is based on the concept of “equitable division.” The rest of this article provides an explanation of equitable division and how 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 in an Oklahoma Divorce
Marital property consists of any assets, or value in those assets, that were acquired during your marriage, individually or jointly. With some exception, this excludes any property that was acquired before you got married or after you were permanently separated. Also, anything that you individually inherit or receive as a gift during marriage will be exempt from being classified as marital property.
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 details child support, child custody and spousal support arrangements. 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 your property will be divided in your Oklahoma divorce, the court will divide your 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 Oklahoma 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 division, which takes into consideration your individual contributions to marital property and that which is in 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. Finally, marital and prenuptial agreements are allowed to dictate how property and debts are to be distributed, so long as these agreements meet the same aforementioned criteria.
Confidential Consultation: Claremore Divorce Attorney
When there’s so much at stake, it’s crucial that you discover all your options by talking to a skilled Claremore divorce attorney at our firm. For a free consultation with an able Claremore divorce attorney, call (918) 879-1681 today. If you prefer e-mail, send us your question by using the form at the right side of this page.