We all know divorce is a challenging time that can have a long-term impact on all parties impacted. In the state of Oklahoma, where the legal landscape governs family matters, understanding the timeline for divorce proceedings can help alleviate uncertainty and allow parties to plan for the future. At Hayes Legal Solutions, PLLC, we believe knowledge and understanding the process is power and decreases client's anxiety.
- Initial Filing and Waiting Period: The divorce process in Oklahoma typically begins with one party, known as the petitioner, filing a petition for divorce in the county they have resided in for at least 30 days. Upon filing, a waiting period of 10 days exist before a divorce can be finalized when minor children are not involved and 90 days when minor children are involved.
- Uncontested Divorce: If the divorce is uncontested, meaning both parties agree on all relevant issues, the process can be expedited. In such cases, couples may be able to finalize their divorce shortly after the mandatory waiting period. The timeline for an uncontested divorce typically depends on the court's docket and the efficiency of the parties involved. However, it is not uncommon for uncontested divorces to be resolved within a few months.
- Contested Divorce: In cases where disagreements persist regarding key issues like child custody, division of assets, alimony, or child support, a contested divorce may ensue. Contested divorces often require more time to reach a resolution as the court must intervene to resolve disputes. The duration of a contested divorce can vary significantly, depending on the complexity of the issues involved, the cooperation between parties, and the caseload of the court. On average, it can take anywhere from six months to a year or more to complete a contested divorce in Oklahoma.
- Mediation and Settlement Negotiations: To help expedite the divorce process and minimize courtroom involvement, many couples opt for mediation or engage in settlement negotiations. Mediation involves a neutral third party who helps facilitate discussions between the divorcing spouses, aiming to find mutually agreeable solutions. If successful, mediation can significantly reduce the time and cost associated with a contested divorce. Settlement negotiations outside of mediation can also aid in reaching compromises, allowing for a smoother and quicker resolution.
- Court Proceedings and Trial: In cases where disputes cannot be resolved through mediation or negotiations, the divorce may proceed to court proceedings. Court dates and trial schedules can contribute to the length of the divorce process, as they are dependent on the availability of the court and legal professionals involved. Typically, court proceedings are considered the last resort and tend to extend the timeline of a divorce.
While all divorces are unique, understanding the general timeline of divorce proceedings in Oklahoma can provide individuals with a realistic expectation of what to anticipate. Regardless if divorce is anticipated as being uncontested or contested, seeking the guidance of an experienced family law attorney, like Hayes Legal Solutions, PLLC will help with the process.