As we all know, knowledge is power. Below is some valuable information you may find helpful to prepare for the months ahead.
Steps of Divorce in the Greater Tulsa Area
When you call our office (918-591-2566), be prepared to provide a short summary of your situation. If it sounds like you will need an attorney, we will schedule an initial interview. In some cases, a client may not need an attorney, and we will advise you if this fits your situation.
The Initial Interview
The initial interview will last approximately 30-60 minutes. At the initial interview, we will discuss the facts of your case in detail. You will not need to bring any documentation to this initial interview.
We will discuss your options and both short-term and long-term strategies. In addition, you will receive our Divorce Intake Sheet, a thorough questionnaire pertaining to your situation. You will take the Intake Sheet home, complete it, and return it to our office.
Once we receive your completed Divorce Intake Sheet, we will draft your initial paperwork and file it at the Courthouse. The divorce process will then be underway.
The Attorney Retainer
Before work begins on your divorce, you will be required to pay a retainer. The amount of the retainer will be based on the expected complexity of your case. Retainers can be paid with checks, cash, money orders, cashier’s check, or credit card. Payment arrangements will be discussed prior to the initial interview.
If the case is less complex than expected, you will receive a refund for the unused amount. If the case is more complex than expected, you will be asked to pay an additional retainer.
In addition to paying the attorney retainer, you will be responsible for payment of the various court filing fees, mediation fees, and service of process fees.
Make Your Spouse Pay?
Want to make your spouse pay? There are two ways to accomplish this: Attorney Fees and Spousal Support.
The official rule on Attorney Fees can be found at § 110 of the Oklahoma Divorce Statutes. According to that statue:
Upon granting a Divorce, the presiding judge may require either party to pay such reasonable expenses of the other as may be just and proper under the circumstances.
What is “just and proper under the circumstances”? This depends on many variables: your employment, your spouse’s employment, your income, and your spouse’s income.
In laymen’s terms, Spousal Support is called “Alimony”.
The original rule on Alimony can be found at § 121 of the Oklahoma Divorce Statutes. It allowed the judge to consider factors like sex, marital fault, and financial need. According to the original rule:
When Divorce is granted because of the fault or aggression of the husband, the wife…shall be awarded such Alimony out of the husband’s property as the course shall think reasonable.
The modern rule is drastically different. Under the modern rule, factors like sex and marital fault are no longer to be considered, and under no circumstances is Alimony to be used to punish.
What factors are to be considered under the modern rule? Property acquired during the marriage, your employment, your spouse’s employment, your income, and your spouse’s income may be considered.
Parenting Plan Conference
If you have minor children, your first court appearance will be a Parenting Plan Conference. Some District Courts refer to this step as “Family Orientation”. At the Parenting Plan Conference, you and your spouse will sit down and watch a video about helping your children cope with the rigors of divorce. After the video, we will conference with your spouse and your spouse’s attorney about the possibility of reaching a Temporary Agreement. This Agreement may include issues such as Child Custody, Child Visitation, and Child Support.
If a Temporary Agreement cannot be reached at the Parenting Plan Conference, the matter will be set for a Hearing in front of the judge. At the Hearing, a judge will decide the temporary issues for you.
The Final Decree
The ultimate goal of the divorce process is to obtain a Final Decree, at which point you are officially divorced. A Final Decree can be reached either by Agreement or by Trial.
A Final Decree is a VERY important legal document. Its terms will control the relationship between you and your ex-spouse for years into the future.
Information courtesy of Bulldog Divorce Tulsa