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What Are The Alimony/Spousal Support Laws In Oklahoma?

The state of Oklahoma does not have many rules governing alimony or spousal support. That means judges have a lot of leeway in deciding on what is fair and appropriate. But spousal support is not permanent in Oklahoma. Thus, a plan needs to be created for the dependent spouse to become independent.

For example, we’ll use a fictional couple Robert and Georgia, who were married for thirty years before divorcing. Robert worked a trade, and Georgia stayed home caring for her working husband and raising the children. They raised their three children in a three-bedroom house in a safe suburb of a medium size city. After the divorce, Georgia had no income and no experience that would enable her to pay even half of her living expenses. Georgia, in this scenario, needs alimony. Thus, we need to examine Robert’s income and expenses.

If after paying for expenses, Robert has money left over, then he can pay spousal support. His need to pay is connected to his marriage to Georgia. She did not work at a job or develop a career because she was carrying for her family.

Both Robert and Georgia make their financial information available to the court, what their individual needs are, to determine what amount of spousal support is reasonable.

The court considers the ability of Georgia to become financially independent and how long that might take. A standard rule is one-third of the length of the marriage. For Georgia, that would mean spousal support for about ten years, but that is not a definite rule, only a guideline. The court will decide. For this reason, Georgia also creates a plan to become as self-sufficient as possible, depending on her situation, during the ten years or a reasonable number of years.

Factors That Impact Awarded Alimony Or Spousal Support

Spousal Support & Alimony Laws

What Is The Difference Between Need And The Ability To Pay Alimony In Oklahoma?

A need versus ability to pay approach is used when it comes to alimony or spousal support. The length of the marriage is a good indicator as to whether the case is even relevant for alimony. Any marriage above five years may be a candidate for that, but judges look at the need of the person requesting versus the ability of the payer.

How Long Will You Have To Pay Alimony Or Spousal Support?

If alimony or spousal support is court ordered and awarded, there’ll be a set amount of money in that court order or judgment, and it will also identify the payment mechanism or monthly amount to pay that alimony or support judgment. Another way that it may terminate is if the receiver of alimony or spousal support remarries, or if that person cohabitated with a person of the opposite sex.

Although these things don’t automatically terminate upon remarriage or cohabitation, that would be something that the payer of alimony would have to initiate with the court if they have information or evidence that the receiver of alimony or spousal support has been married or if that person is cohabitating with someone of the opposite sex. You may have to show that there was a relationship in that cohabitation more than just roommates or something like that.

How Do You Petition For A Reduction Of Alimony?

The process to reduce alimony is very similar to the reduction of child support. This is a motion to modify alimony with your reason as to why it is necessary. In this situation, you would have to show a reduction of income.

How Is The Division Of Assets Handled In A Divorce?

In Oklahoma, assets are divided in an equitable fashion. However, before the assets are divided, the judge will look at the nature of the assets as to whether they are separate property or marital property. If the property is separate property, then it would not be subject to division in family court. This is because only marital property is subject to division.

The judge will have to determine whether it’s marital property or separate property. This is the same with debt division. Debt division is divided equitably. Any debt that was created in one person’s name after separation is that person’s responsibility. That’s irrespective of whether the case has been finalized or not, but debt created during the marriage is split equally. For more information on Alimony Law in Oklahoma, an initial consultation is your next best step.

Harold Thompson, Esq.

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