The 12 Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma: What Things You Need to Know

oklahoma grounds for divorce

Oklahoma is one of the states where at-fault divorces are still practiced though most cases are initiated based on no-fault grounds. In order to get a divorce, you need to specify in the petition the reasons for marriage dissolution. The legal grounds for divorce in Oklahoma can be either irreconcilable differences between spouses or the fault committed by one party, which led to marriage termination.

No-Fault Divorce in Oklahoma

During a no-fault divorce, one of the spouses may declare in court that it is impossible for them to continue the marital relationship with another spouse due to irreconcilable differences, which constitutes sufficient grounds for divorce in Oklahoma. In a no-fault divorce, there are no accusations between spouses of insufficient material support, infidelity, aggressive conduct, etc. The reasons for divorce, in this case, can be disagreements between spouses, the impossibility of further cohabitation, the actual breakdown of the marriage, etc., where there is no chance of reconciliation.

Grounds for a Fault Divorce in Oklahoma

If one of the spouses engages in misconduct or is at fault of the marriage breakup, the other spouse must prove their fault as the reason for divorce. There are 12 grounds for fault divorces in Oklahoma.

1) Abandonment

Abandonment presupposes that the spouse left the other one for at least a year without any support and intent to return. This condition would serve as a reason for divorce only if spouses did not agree on separation before.

2) Adultery

The betrayal of one of the spouses by committing sexual intercourse with another person is also a sufficient basis for divorce.

3) Impotence

The presence of health problems in one of the spouses that makes it impossible to maintain a sexual relationship between parties is another ground for fault divorce.

4) Pregnancy from someone other than the husband

If a married wife is pregnant from another person but not their spouse, the other party has the right to divorce her based on this ground.

5) Substance abuse

Substance abuse involves using drugs or medicines in exceeding dosages causing harm to the other spouse, which makes marital life unbearable and leads to a breakup.

6) Fraud

This reason involves fraud by one spouse against the other. This may be a fraudulent marriage contract or withholding the presence of a previous or even a real second marriage.

7) Incompatibility

The incompatibility of spouses is most often the cause of no-fault divorce. However, this ground can also be applied in a fault marriage termination if one of the spouses does not agree to a divorce while misunderstanding between spouses leads to a conflict and the inability to communicate further.

8) Habitual drunkenness

Abuse of alcohol for a long time on a regular basis is another sufficient reason for divorce.

9) Gross neglect of duty

Examples of gross neglect of duty may be insufficient material support of one spouse by the other party or unwillingness to take care of a child despite being able to do it.

10) Imprisonment

If the respondent is in a place of deprivation of liberty for committing a crime at the time when a petitioner files for divorce, the court will consider the case as a fault divorce.

11) Procurement of a final divorce decree

When one spouse has obtained a divorce decree in another state but it is not legal in Oklahoma, the other spouse may apply for a fault divorce.

12) Insanity

For insanity to become a sufficient basis for divorce, one of the spouses must have been in a psychiatric hospital for at least five years when a divorce is initiated. Also, at least three doctors must examine the patient. If two of them confirm that a respondent is unlikely to recover, the court will grant the divorce based on this reason.

What Are the Differences Between Fault and No-Fault Divorce?

The main difference between fault and no-fault divorce is that in the first case, the filing spouse should prove the guilt of the second party in a marriage breakup based on one of the twelve conditions listed above. In a no-fault divorce, spouses have no claims or accusations against each other.

Fault divorces are less common as proving the fault of a spouse and collecting sufficient evidence may be challenging and time-consuming, leading to delays and high expenses in the divorce process. Usually, spouses go for a no-fault option which is typically quicker and cheaper. They can file for divorce without an attorney if there are no contentious issues to resolve.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does it matter who files for divorce first in Oklahoma? 

A spouse who files for divorce first has some benefits over the other party. For example, they will be the first to present arguments in court, which may potentially turn the case to their advantage.

Is infidelity a ground for divorce in Oklahoma?

Yes, the fact that a spouse has an extramarital affair is a legal ground for a divorce.

Is a sexless marriage grounds for divorce in Oklahoma?

A sexless marriage itself is not included in the grounds for divorce; however, if it results from abandonment, other misconduct by a spouse, or impotence, it may serve as evidence when proving a fault ground.