How Is Property Divided in an Oklahoma Divorce?
When a couple is facing divorce in Oklahoma, there are many terms to finalize. Child custody is often at top of the priority list in divorces that involve children, and it’s also one of the most contentious issues of any divorce. Another term of the divorce that spouses are often most concerned with is the division of their property. Many assume that after divorce, each spouse will receive half of the property the couple jointly owns. This, however, isn’t always true.
Separate Property vs. Marital Property
When determining how property is divided in a divorce, the courts will first determine what is considered separate property and what is considered marital property. Separate property is that which was owned by one spouse before marriage, and that they brought into a marriage. Marital property, on the other hand, can be any property that was acquired during marriage.
A common example of separate property is an inheritance not intended for the couple, but instead just one spouse, that was obtained prior to or during the marriage. The courts will often consider this the property of the spouse it was given to and, therefore, it is not divided among the two spouses in the event of a divorce.
Marital property often includes the marital home, vehicles, and even businesses. This marital property is subject to equitable distribution in Oklahoma, which means the property is divided fairly.
Equitable distribution is the model of property division for most states. Oklahoma is one of 40 states that enacts equitable distribution laws. There are many misconceptions surrounding equitable distribution. Many divorcing spouses hear the term “equitable” and assume the property will be divided equally. This is not the case.
Instead, the courts will determine what is fair and just for property division. A judge will look at the entire marriage, including how much each spouse contributed to the marriage and what each spouse requires in order to move forward after the divorce. Based on those findings, a judge will then determine what is fair and just as it pertains to property division.
Debts are considered when dividing property in a divorce as well. Dividing debts requires the same set of principles used to divide property, including whether it is separate or marital property, and what spouse contributed most to the debts obtained during marriage.
It’s important that any divorcing couple understands that they do not have to leave this decision up to a judge. Together, the couple can draft an agreement on how they will divide the property after divorce. As long as that agreement is just and fair, a judge is likely to approve it. It is only when the couple cannot agree that the decision is left to a judge.
Getting a Divorce? Speak to an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer Who Will Work For You
There are many terms to finalize in any divorce, and property division is just one. Anyone who is considering divorce or going through a divorce should speak to a divorce lawyer in Oklahoma who can fight for their rights and help them leave the marriage with the property division agreement they are entitled to.
If you are facing divorce, you’re likely experiencing many different emotions. You’re now facing a different life than you were during marriage, and there are many legalities to be finalized along the way. At Banks, Gillett, Gillett, PLLC, we want to help. Contact us today by filling out our online form or calling us at (405) 607-4800. We will represent you throughout the entire process, and advise you on the options you have available to you. Don’t feel as though you have to go through this alone. Call us today for your free consultation.