How to File for Divorce in Oklahoma Without a Lawyer

woman filing for divorce without a lawyer

In Oklahoma, the divorce process does not require the mandatory presence of an attorney, according to the legal regulations of the state. Many couples file for divorce on their own to save money on legal representation. However, do-it-yourself divorce in Oklahoma is more suitable in no-fault and uncontested cases than in contested ones. To avoid any difficulties when you file for divorce in Oklahoma without an attorney, you need to know the legal requirements of the state, the sequence of actions, and the list of necessary documents. Let’s analyze how to divorce without an attorney step by step.

Step 1: Meet the Oklahoma Residency Requirements

At least one spouse should be a state resident for no less than six months before filing for divorce in Oklahoma. This requirement also applies to spouses, one of whom was deployed to the state for military service. An exception to the rule is the insanity of one party who is being treated outside the state. In such a case, a filing spouse must reside in Oklahoma for at least 5 years to be able to start a divorce process. Also, one of the spouses must live in the county of filing for at least 30 days.

Step 2: Prepare the Divorce Forms

The mandatory list of divorce paperwork includes Domestic Relations Cover Sheet, Divorce Petition, Marital Settlement Agreement, Financial Affidavits, etc. You can obtain the necessary forms from the clerk of the local court.

If the divorce is uncontested, you can also use the online document preparation service. In this case, you will have to answer several questions concerning your divorce in the online questionnaire, after which you will receive ready-made forms required for your marriage termination process.

In the divorce petition, you must carefully fill in all the fields required, such as your name and the name of the spouse, the date of filling out the document, compliance with the residency requirements, the reason for the divorce, etc. In an uncontested no-fault divorce, the most common ground specified is the incompatibility of spouses.

If you have children and have already resolved all issues regarding custody, child support, visitation plans, etc., you should also prepare the corresponding documents before filing.

All documents must have two copies because one will be filed with the court, and the other one will be given to the spouse during serving.

Step 3: File the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage

After preparing all the necessary forms, one of the spouses, who will be the petitioner, should file for divorce in Oklahoma. 

Divorce documents must be filed in the county court where both or one of the spouses resides. When submitting divorce paperwork, you will have to pay a state fee. Its size varies from $180 to 260$ depending on the county. If a filing spouse is in a difficult financial situation, they must submit an application to the court, named fee waiver, with a request to exempt them from paying the fee.

Step 4: Serving the Spouse

The standard divorce process involves serving a respondent with the Petition and Summons after the initial documents are filed with the court. The documents can be delivered through a private process server or a deputy sheriff.

However, you can get a divorce in Oklahoma without handing over documents to the other spouse if you have reached an agreement on your divorce. In such a case, the other spouse should sign an Entry of Appearance and Waiver, and this form must be submitted to the court no earlier than a day after filing the petition.

Step 5: Response and Counter-Petition

After filing for divorce in Oklahoma and serving the other spouse are completed, the respondent has 20 days to file an Answer. The spouse should indicate agreement or disagreement with the statements made by the petitioner.

The respondent can file a counterclaim if they disagree with the divorce terms. In counter-petition, the respondent can point out other reasons for the divorce or their vision regarding financial, property, and child-related arrangements. A counterclaim must be filed with the court and given to the petitioner.

Step 6: Negotiation and Settlement

After both spouses have read the petition and each other’s responses, they can discuss the terms of the divorce on which they have not agreed yet. If the parties have no objections, they can complete and submit a settlement agreement to the court at this stage.

However, if spouses have disputed issues and send a counterclaim, the court can intervene in the process and schedule hearings where contested issues will be discussed and settled.

You can try to avoid prolonged court proceedings with the help of mediation. It involves the presence of a neutral mediator during negotiations who will listen to both sides and help them reach an agreement on all issues.

Step 7: Waiting Period

Divorce laws in Oklahoma make it possible to finalize the divorce after a mandatory waiting period of 10 days if a couple does not have underage children and after 90 days if spouses have minor children. This period can be reduced only if the spouses have already completed family counseling and there is no chance of reconciliation, and if no spouse objects to waiving the waiting period.

Step 8: Attend a Divorce Hearing in Court

A final hearing is the last step before obtaining a final divorce decree. At the hearing, the judge will check the documents of the spouses, ask several questions, and make a final decision.

If a couple does not have children and is in agreement, hearings usually do not last long and are simplified. In this case, you will be asked to confirm your consent to the divorce and everything specified in the petition.

If the couple has children under the age of 18, the court process will take a little longer. The court must ensure that you have reached an agreement on maintenance and custody of children, consider the children’s best interests, and understand the specifics of upbringing in divorced families. If you still have unresolved issues, there may be several court hearings.

Step 9: Finalizing the Divorce

The document you will receive at the end of the divorce process is a divorce decree that finalizes the dissolution of marriage in Oklahoma. At the final hearing, the judge will review and sign it. This court order contains information about the fact of divorce, agreement on alimony, custody of children, division of property, pension plans, etc. This document also prohibits you from remarrying another person for 6 months.

The Bottom Line

Oklahoma state law does not require spouses to divorce with the assistance of an attorney. If the spouses can resolve issues of property division, financial maintenance, and custody themselves, they can go through a divorce process on their own.

  • Firstly, they must meet residency requirements and file a divorce petition with the county court.
  • The next step is serving the other spouse, agreeing on all the details of the divorce, and waiting till a mandatory 10- or 90-day period expires.
  • The last stage is attending the court hearing, where the judge makes the final decision on the couple’s divorce and issues a final divorce decree.

If a couple wants to save money on the divorce process and go without legal assistance, it is recommended to have a complete agreement between spouses. In such a case, spouses can simplify the document preparation process and filing by taking advantage of online divorce in Oklahoma, which will significantly save their time.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can you file for divorce in Oklahoma by yourself?

Yes, you can file for divorce on your own without the help of an attorney.

What is the first step to getting a divorce in Oklahoma?

The first stage of divorce in Oklahoma is to verify that you meet the residency requirements that allow you to file a petition in this state.

How much does it cost to file for divorce?

If you file for divorce on your own without an attorney’s legal assistance, you will only need to pay the state filing fee. Its size depends on the county and whether you and your spouse have children. On average, it varies from $180 to $260.

Can I file for divorce online in Oklahoma?

It is better to clarify with the court if online filing is available in your county. To prepare the documents, you can surely take advantage of online divorce services that provide completed divorce forms at a reasonable fee.

Can I get a divorce without both parties signing?

If the other party avoids signing the received petition or ignores it, you can still get a divorce. The petition can be served by publication upon the court’s permission. If the response is not provided, the judge may issue a default judgment based on your submitted documents.