Same Sex Marriage is Legal in Oklahoma
The Supreme Court ruling in the case of Obergefell v. Hodges legalized same-sex marriage across the country in 2015. Oklahoma began recognizing same-sex marriage in October of 2014. Prior to the ruling, same-sex couples often entered civil unions in which they shared homes, belongings, businesses, and bank accounts.
Requirements For A Legal Same Sex Marriage In Oklahoma
1.) License Fee- Go to the county clerk office, tell them you are there to get a marriage license and they will give you forms to complete and charge you a fee of $50.00. If you take a state-approved marriage course, the fee will be dropped to $5.00.
2.) Residency- You do not have to be a resident of Oklahoma to get married in the state.
3.) Waiting Period- As long as you are over 17 years of age, there is not a waiting period for a marriage license, once the requirements are satisfied. If you are 16-17 years old, a 72 hour waiting period applies. You need to be divorced for 6 months from the date of the divorce decree before applying for a new marriage license to marry someone
4.) Expiration- You have 10 days once the marriage license is issued to officially tie the knot. In order for your marriage to be recognized in Oklahoma, you must have two witnesses sign the marriage license. You will also need the officiant to perform the ceremony and return the license to the county clerk. They do not give you a refund if your license expires before marriage, you will have to pay the fee again.
5.) Single- You cannot be married to someone else and receive a valid marriage license. If your former spouse is deceased, bring a death certificate.
6.) Age- If you are under 35, it is a good idea to take a copy of your birth certificate with you to the county clerk's office when you are applying for a marriage license. Parental consent is needed for individuals 16 and 17 years of age.
What Rights Come With Same-Sex Marriage?
- Property rights
- Tax benefits
- Power of Attorney and Medical Power of Attorney
- Insurance Coverage
- Divorce and Parenting Rights
- Marital privilege rights if ever asked to testify against your spouse in court
- Inheritance rights
Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
It is a good idea to consult with an attorney before you get married to help you navigate special considerations that may come up if you cohabited before same sex marriage was legal in Oklahoma. Under the current laws in Oklahoma the only assets and debts subject to division during divorce proceedings are assets that were acquired during the marriage. If a couple has been together for a long time before legally marrying they should speak with an attorney about the assets they would like to consider as joint or designate as non-marital.
Property Division And Child Custody Is Often More Complicated In Same Sex Divorces
While the law treats these couples the same as any other in seeking a divorce, property division is often more complex than the average heterosexual divorce. Under the Oklahoma divorce statutes, marital property is subject to the rules of equitable distribution. This requires any homes, cars, furnishings, and financial assets that were earned or acquired during the marriage to be divided on a fair but not necessarily even basis. As same- sex married couples likely have significant joint holdings from their time together, additional negotiations are required to address premarital property and ownership issues. Here are the key points you need to know about same-sex divorce in Oklahoma.
Same-sex divorce may not work like divorce for heterosexual couples especially when it comes to children. Previously, Oklahoma law prevented courts from giving out same-sex divorces even if the same-sex couple had a legal same-sex marriage in another state. Today, that law is obsolete and no longer applies after Obergefell v. Hodges. Oklahoma same-sex marriage is legal—and so is same-sex divorce. Types of divorce such as contested and uncontested divorces, mediation, and legal separation now apply equally to same-sex couples.
If you are an LGBTQ spouse going through a separation, divorce you need capable representation when it comes to custody, visitation, and child support.
With laws and attitudes changing at a fast pace in our country, and society in general, relationships between all adults and their families are facing new legal and social challenges. At Hayes Legal Solutions, PLLC we are passionate about LGBTQ family rights and the rights of families in general. We are among four attorneys in the state of Oklahoma that are a member of the LGBTQ Bar Association- family law institute which closely follows developments all over the world in this relatively new area of law.
If you have questions regarding any aspect of same-sex family law issues, like divorce, or custody do not hesitate to call or text Hayes Legal Solutions, PLLC at 405-635-5578. Strategy sessions can be booked now, by contacting us online or clicking on the link below.