Stillwater Divorce Lawyer
If you choose not to be with your spouse anymore, you may be having a hard time in many ways. It is emotionally difficult to deal with. It can be so stressful to think about the logistics. You don’t have to go through this by yourself in a time where you may already feel so alone. Experienced Stillwater divorce lawyer, James Murray, can help you through this legal process.
Determining the Grounds for Divorce
In Oklahoma, you have to have a reason to get divorce. It is not a No-Fault divorce state. You have to determine the grounds in which you would file for divorce. It is a very difficult process to separate from someone you thought you would spend your life with. You can legally file for divorce if:
- Your spouse has abandoned you for a year
- Your spouse has cheated on you
- Your spouse has impotency
- Your spouse is pregnant by another man
- You are suffering extreme cruelty
- You are incompatible
- You spouse have committed fraudulent misrepresentation
- Your spouse has a drinking problem
- Your spouse has been in jail
- Your spouse has been suffering insanity for five years
DIVORCE Client Testimonial / JOHN D.
“Mr. Murray and his team has represented me for almost eight years, in what is known as the most acrimonious and litigious divorce case ever in Payne County. As far as I know, I am the longest standing client of Murray Law Firm. When I first went to the firm, my primary concern was losing rights to see my son, due to unfounded accusations by my estranged wife. Jamie outlasted a dozen lawyers hired to go up against him. Through dozens of hearings, a three day trial, an appeal to the Supreme Court, another three day trial, and another appeal to the Supreme court, Jamie stood strong, was well prepared, and tougher than an army boot. Ultimately, after a seven year battle, I was granted full custody of my son. Whether for family matters, criminal defense, personal injury, or virtually any other matter, I urge you to hire the Murray Law Firm. They are the best in Payne and surrounding counties—-and among the best in the state of Oklahoma.”
You can discuss the particulars of your case in a free consultation with our Stillwater divorce lawyer. If, for some reason, you and your spouse are equally at fault for the divorce, it will still be granted to you but equally as opposed as one spouse divorcing another.
Another Option for Ending the Marriage
If you do not want to go through the process of divorce and all that it comes with, you can see if you are able to file for an annulment. What annulment means is that your marriage would be void. It is not a divorce per say, it is a null and void marriage. Your divorce may be eligible for annulment if:
- You or your spouse are under the age of 18 and did not receive consent from a parent or guardian
- You are related
- You or your spouse cannot contract the marriage because you are too young or do not understand it
- Your spouse was divorced less than six months before you got married
You can talk to your attorney about your specific situation and see if you and your spouse will qualify for an annulment.
Dividing Your Assets and Property
Oklahoma follows the law of equitable distribution. What that means is that your assets that you have before the marriage will not be considered marital property and therefore will belong to you after the divorce. Also, do not misinterpret equitable for equal distribution. You probably will not be splitting your assets straight down the middle. Most of the time, one spouse will have more than another in assets and you will be entitled to an equitable portion of them. Equitable means “fair” and sometimes 50/50 is not fair to one party. The fine details will be hammered out with your attorney.
Spousal Support / Alimony
Alimony may be granted for many divorcing couples. If you were married for a long time, that has a huge impact on whether or not you will have to pay/receive alimony payments. Alimony most likely will not be needed for a very short marriage. If you ask the court for alimony, and they decide that the request is reasonable, you may also be granted alimony. It can either be temporary or permanent payments.
Alimony payments may cease if the spouse that is receiving payments either dies or remarries. They may also be modified if the spouse receiving payments moves in with someone. Also, modifications may be made if there are significant changes in circumstances made in either party’s life. Everything about the alimony payments will be decided by the court. The payments could be monthly installments or they might be a lump sum. All of this will vary case-by-case and depends on the specifics of your divorce.
Frequently Asked Divorce Questions
What are the grounds for divorce in Oklahoma?
The other day, I received a phone call regarding a divorce consultation in which the client was very concerned that their spouse had been cheating on them. In the state of Oklahoma, adultery, no matter how significant to the individual, which we understand it very much is, it is not a substantial grounds for divorce. The state is generally a no-fault state, which involved incompatibility arising from irreconcilable differences as the grounds for the divorce that will be filed. The fact that adultery has been committed, as significant and traumatic as that can be to the spouse that is on the receiving end of that adultery, is not a factor in the course of decisions regarding custody, child support, or visitation provided that there are some extenuating circumstances if the child was exposed to any of that. Otherwise, it is a no-fault state, which means the case will be filed as incompatibility arising from irreconcilable differences. There are fault bases available, but those are extenuating circumstances that will have to be discussed on a case-by-case basis, which can be done during a detailed consultation with our office.
What mistakes should I avoid during divorce?
Time and time again when we meet with clients, we tell them what they should do and what they should not do during divorce. What they should do is be excellent examples to their children. What they should do is obey the court orders. What they should do is put their children ahead of themselves. When you’re faced with a situation, you can give the spouse a little more time than allowed, sometimes you need to do that to show the court that you’re willing to make the tough decision and put your children’s needs first. If you get in a tit for tat situation with the kids, that looks poorly on both parties. The other pitfalls are if you send text message with angry and derogatory comments, you email bad things to people, or put bad things on your Facebook accounts about the spouse. These things just come back to haunt you.
Do not put anything on social media or texting or emails that you don’t want to have thrown in your face at trial. It will all come back to you, I promise. What makes an experienced divorce attorney upset and frustrated is when we have to spend more time defending our clients’ actions than be their champion. We ask all of our clients to be exemplary in their life, their language, and be appropriate with all your communication with the other spouse.
How do I choose the best attorney for my divorce?
If you’re watching this video, you may be considering filing for a divorce. In doing so, you need to find an attorney that is the best fit for you and your situation. You need to find someone who’s experienced in divorce law, someone who is familiar with the local jurisdiction, the judges and opposing council where you will be filing for divorce, as well as someone who you can feel you’re comfortable with and trust, because this may be the most stressful and traumatic experience of your life. You need someone who will be able to navigate those rough waters and be able to provide comfort and concise advice during this time of need. In doing so, you need to contact an experienced divorce attorney.
How much does a divorce cost?
I was meeting with a client the other day regarding divorce action. Her question was, “How much is this going to cost?” It will vary depending on your case. Your case if it’s one that is uncontested will be quicker and it will be cheaper. On the flip side if, it is a highly contested issue, which oftentimes these are since it’s a highly emotional stage of life, and there are children involved, substantial debts and assets, it will cost more money because there will be more thorough work that will be involved. It could involve family law if there are children involved, which another attorney will be appointed to represent the children’s interest. There are also other issues that may come up requiring appraisals of property. Those will require experts that cost more money as a total package for the case. You would need to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in order to determine what your case is likely to cost.
What items should I bring to my divorce consultation?
The question often comes up, what do I need to bring to a divorce consultation? You don’t really need to bring anything. You just bring yourself and bring the information about what your situation is and what is significant to you. The experienced divorce attorney will be able to parse through that and deal with you on an individualized basis about what is significant to your case, what your needs are, and how to best address those. After that meeting, if you feel comfortable enough and familiar enough to hire that attorney, they will then likely give you homework to bring back certain documentation to proceed on with the case.
How long do you have to live in Oklahoma to get a divorce?
If you’re considering filing for divorce but your spouse resides in another state outside of Oklahoma, can you still file for divorce in Oklahoma? The answer is possibly yes. In Oklahoma, you would need to have resided here for a period of six months prior to filing for divorce. In a period of 30 days prior to filing for divorce, you’d have to reside in the county in which you are filing for divorce. If there are children involved in the divorce, it can become a little bit more complicated. That will need to be assessed on a case-by-case basis where you would come in and speak with an experienced divorce attorney.
How can I get a divorce if I don’t know where my spouse is?
Oftentimes the question arises, can I get divorced if I cannot locate my spouse? Under Oklahoma law, there are measures and procedures in place which would allow you to finalize a divorce action even if you cannot find them and serve them personally with a divorce action.What happens is, Oklahoma allows for a publication of the notice of the pending divorce. It must be court approved. It will need to be published in a newspaper in the local county where your case is filed for approximately one day per week for three consecutive weeks. There are some other nuances that may be involved in your case, so you would need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to determine the best course to proceed.
How do I pay for a divorce if my spouse won’t let me use our money?
If you’re considering filing for divorce, but you believe you’ve been locked out of certain marital bank accounts by your spouse, then you need to find out what the best options to remedy that situation are. An experienced divorce attorney can help walk you through that process by filing certain motions, and getting in front of the judge.That is a situation that you are entitled under the law to have equal access to. If you are considering locking your spouse out of accounts when a divorce is pending, our advice is to not do that. That will not set the tone well for you. Likewise, if you’ve been locked out of certain marital joint accounts, you need to contact an experienced attorney to help walk you through this process.
How can I get my spouse to pay for my divorce fees?
Many times, if a party is thinking of filing for divorce, they run into an issue of not having sufficient funds to pay an attorney to file for divorce on their behalf. You may be wondering if you can receive support to file for divorce.In Oklahoma, you can file a request for attorney fees or for suit money to fund your process to hire an attorney and get through the divorce process. You will need to consult with an experienced divorce attorney to determine whether that is an appropriate measure that you can pursue.
How can I keep my divorce expenses low?
If you’re watching this video, you may be contemplating filing for divorce. If you’re considering filing for divorce, the common question that arises is, how do I minimize the cost of divorce? Well, the best way to do that is to be able to come to agreements with your spouse regarding all major issues of divorce, which could be custody of children, debt division, and any support alimony that may be requested.In doing so, you’ll be able to minimize the amount of time the case takes, which will in effect minimize the number of hours that are going to have to be billed by the attorneys working your case. If you have any questions about how to minimize your cost in divorce and how long the process generally takes, contact an experienced divorce attorney.
How should I start my divorce?
There’s a time that comes in marriage when you know things are in trouble. You know that divorce is going to be inevitable. The question is, what can you do to get ready? A lot of times there are children involved. A lot of times there’s debt. A lot of times one spouse has the other spouse locked out of all the money.
When you find yourself in these situations, you need to think of a couple of things. One is, how are you going to survive financially with no money? Somehow you have to start preparing for that. Somehow you have to start saving money, or convince your spouse to give you access to money. A lot of spouses control the other spouse with money. You have to worry about how to independently live once you leave the house or the other spouse leaves.The other thing is with child care and child custody, that’s a tough deal. A lot of times you can prepare a little bit by being very devoted to your children and spending a lot of time with them, preparing them for what’s coming. It’s a wakeup call and shocks kids when their parents no longer live together. If you’ve been a parent who’s been aloof, and not spending any time with the children for some time, you need to probably refocus yourself and focus on your children and do what’s in their best interest. It’s tough to put them in the middle of these things, but sometimes they are.
You can spend the time needed to reestablish or establish a stronger bond with your children. Probably the best way to prepare for divorce is contacting an experienced trial lawyer who does divorce trials, who understands the intricacies and all the problems associated with it. By doing that, you can take the time to prepare so you can be proactive instead of reactive. Many times in divorces, we react. If you can take the time to plan, you can be proactive and avoid a lot of problems.
How should I act during the divorce process?
When people start the journey going through divorce, the conduct of each party is really important. Poor conduct could hurt your case. Good conduct can make it a better experience for you. I know that being alone and not belonging to somebody is a strong, powerful feeling, probably the strongest I’ve ever felt. What happens when people are like that, is sometimes they make poor decisions.
They decide they want to go out and have a good time. They want to forget everything. They go out to a bar. They go out and have drinks. One thing leads to another and the weekend or the evening turns into disaster, either from a DUI or a car wreck. They get involved with someone they shouldn’t have been involved with and that creates new problems. It hurts them and their display to the judge about what kind of character and morals and values they have. My counsel to people is, when you’re going through a divorce, remember one thing; everything you do is under a microscope. Every time you do something you need to ask yourself, what will this conduct look like to a neutral third-party person? Will this help me or hurt me? If they don’t know me and if they don’t know anything else about me, what will this conduct say about me?
If you have this attitude and you ask yourself that question, you can avoid a lot of the problems. A lot of times, people don’t follow our counsel. For instance, don’t bring your kids around another significant other during the divorce process. It confuses the children.
Let them have a chance to mourn the loss of their family. Judges look dimly on people that do not consider their children’s feelings. If you don’t know what to do, contact your experienced divorce attorney. He can help you. We take great pride in being accessible to our clients to help them navigate through these tough and difficult decisions. If you have any doubt, don’t do it until you talk to us.
Why should I avoid talking about my divorce on social media?
I tell my clients every time they come in, don’t send a text message, don’t put anything on Facebook or Twitter about the divorce unless you want to see it in the courtroom. More often than not, clients will put things on Facebook and send text messages that come back to haunt them. It proves the other side’s case. My recommendation to all my clients is if you’re going through a divorce or a paternity action or a motion of modified custody, these are emotional issues. These are emotional hearings. You do not want to post anything on Facebook.I would go Facebook silent, Twitter silent and only put things in text messages to your spouse or the other parent of your child that you absolutely have to. Do not get mad. Do not post things in haste. Do not say bad things or poor things about the other parent online in any form or fashion. It makes you look foolish, and we spend more time defending you on the things you put on Facebook and social media and text messages than we do being your champion in court. It takes a lot of self-control because this society is so much into social media, but social media only causes you problems in contested family matters.
What happens during the divorce process?
The other day I received a phone call from a prospective client inquiring about how to start a divorce action. Once you reach that moment in life that you are going to have to file for divorce, it’s imperative that you find an attorney who is experienced in divorce actions. There’s going to be documentation requested of you that will play a factor in any sort of debt and asset division that will be forthcoming in the case as well as any sort of issues with child support or child custody that may exist. It’s very important that at this critical stage in life, you find an attorney that you mesh well with that you believe can lead you through this process confidently and form a bond of trust with you over time. It will be a lengthy process at times, and so it’s imperative that you feel comfortable.
What is a no fault divorce?
I’m frequently asked about what is important in an uncontested divorce. It’s important to know that it is the cheapest, quickest, and easiest way to get through the divorce process and that would be because both parties know what they’re getting. They’re in agreement as to all issues that are involved in a divorce process. It’s going to depend on whether there are children involved.Do the parties have an agreement as to how they’re going to divide custody, visitation, and whether child support will be ordered, and in what amount? Furthermore, if there are debts and assets that have been acquired during the marriage, have they agreed to how they will be divided? Who will take what property with what debt? If those are all agreed to, it makes the process much more streamlined because a judge is not dealing out who is taking what asset, who is taking what debt, who is getting the children for custody, and who is getting what visitation. In addition, if there are support alimony requests, that could be divided either by a judge or through an agreement. If all issues are agreed to in the divorce process, it will be a much quicker, easier, and predictable process.
What is divorce mediation?
I’ve been asked about divorce mediation and whether that’s a requirement in Oklahoma and what that process involves. Divorce mediation is a process where a neutral third-party mediator will oversee the parties and their attorneys at a mediation. Both parties get to air their position as to the issues at hand, whether there’s custody issues, debt and asset division, or support alimony as an issue. Both parties will get to discuss those, and present their issues to the mediator. The mediator will then attempt to reach a mutually agreeable and satisfactory resolution for the parties and their counsel. It is generally required in the state of Oklahoma that the parties attend a mediation prior to the court setting a trial date, the idea being that if the parties can reach an agreement where they both are satisfied with what they’re receiving and what their obligations are, it is better for everyone. You need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to discuss any other concerns you may have about whether mediation will be an appropriate measure for you.
Should I move out of the house if we decide to get divorced?
If you’re considering filing for divorce, you may be wondering whether you need to move out of the marital home. It’s generally a better idea if you and your spouse can get along well enough to stay in the marital home until the case can reach a conclusion. If it’s unavailable as an option because there may be some abuse or issues that are toxic to the children if you have children in the marriage, that’s something where you need to get out of the home. We would recommend that you contact an experienced divorce attorney to deal with your fact-by-fact situation. Contact one and determine whether that’s an appropriate move for you.
What is equitable distribution?
When you’re going through a divorce in Oklahoma and property and debts need to be divided, the courts look at what’s called an equitable division process. Equitable division is sometimes confused with equal division, which is not the case. The Oklahoma law is very clear that it considers many factors involving the particulars of your divorce case in determining what an equitable division is. You’ll need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to consider those factors that are particular to your case to determine what an equitable division is.
How do we find my spouse’s hidden assets?
If you or your spouse have filed for divorce and you’re concerned that your spouse may be attempting to hide assets of the marriage, that is something that an experienced divorce attorney can deal with to uncover. What happens is in Oklahoma, the discovery code allows the parties to request certain asset and financial information that is required to be provided by the party under oath under penalty of perjury that this is a true and correct answer. If, in fact, you believe the assets are still being hidden, that you knew them to exist, a forensic accountant will be able to uncover those through this divorce process. You need to contact an experienced attorney to help guide you through this.
What is considered marital property and what is considered separate property?
When you file for divorce or your spouse has filed for divorce, you need to consider what is marital property and what is separate property in order to divide that equitably. Marital property generally in Oklahoma is considered anything acquired during the marriage with some exceptions that will need to be discussed with an experienced divorce attorney. Otherwise, every piece of property that’s been acquired prior to or after the date of separation can be considered separate with some exceptions. It’s important that you contact an experienced divorce attorney to assess your situation and determine what the proper analysis of marital versus separate property is.
How is property divided during a divorce?
When you’re going through the divorce process, there’s frequently one home that the parties have purchased and either are currently paying a mortgage on or own outright. The question becomes. how is that going to be divided? The general process is that one party will likely result in keeping the home, or the alternative is if the home could be put up for sale, the proceeds will be divided equitably between the parties. You need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to determine what will best suit your case.
What happens to a marital home that was purchased before marriage?
If you’re going through a divorce process or will soon be going through the divorce process and you’ve purchased a home prior to the marriage, you need to determine whether it’s a separate or marital asset. In doing so, there are some circumstances where it will be separate if you’ve purchased it outright prior to the marriage and no improvements were done during the course of the marriage.If there are other cases that arise where there has some been some appreciation or payments have been made during the course of the marriage, it may be considered at least in part a marital asset subject to division. You need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to go over the facts particular to your case to determine what will be considered.
What happens to my inheritance during a divorce?
A common question when filing for a divorce is, how is inheritance treated in the divorce process? Under Oklahoma law, an inheritance is considered separate property, although there are certain circumstances in which it can become commingled. It can transform into a marital asset if you are providing a pooling or resources, so to speak, with your spouse in purchasing other assets with the inheritance and with marital funds. It’s something that we advise that you keep separate as much as possible if you think a divorce is looming or is already pending. You need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to help you consider whether or not it will be separate property or whether it has potentially become marital property.
How long does a divorce take?
The other day I was meeting with a client regarding a perspective divorce. Their question, which comes up frequently, was, how long will this take? In the state of Oklahoma it could be done in approximately a month’s time or less if it’s an agreed matter where both parties are in full agreement as to all issues.If it’s a contested matter where there’s either substantial assets and debts of the marriage or there are children, it could potentially take up to a year or even longer. In this, case it’s something that you want to assess with a competent divorce attorney. Once you assess that with them, they can provide you a more tailored timetable for your specific case.
Hiring the Right Stillwater Divorce Lawyer for You
If you know that you are in for a difficult legal battle, you may be concerned that you are going to feel a little lost. There are options for you. Make sure you interview attorneys until you find the right fit. Remember that this could very well be a long process, and you will have to spend some time with your attorney so it is so important that you like your attorney. In addition to liking the attorney that you’re going to hire, you should be able to trust them. If you don’t think that your attorney is experienced enough, you should keep looking for a new one.
At Murray Law Firm, you will find that you will be our priority. We want you to feel supported and in good hands. Do not hesitate to give our office a call today for a free consultation to meet with dedicated Stillwater divorce lawyer James Murray.
Like Us on Facebook