4 Important Things To Know About Property & Liability Division During Divorce
The division of property and liabilities is part of the divorce process in Oklahoma. If you are facing divorce, these are four important facts about property division under Oklahoma law that you will want to know.
1. You Have Options for Property Division
In Oklahoma, both parties of marriage have two choices when it comes to property division or equitable distribution.
- The two parties can come to a mutual agreement in the form of a property settlement which both must sign and is binding under the authority of the court.
- The Court will decide who gets what and why.
When couples cannot agree on the terms of a mutual property settlement, then the court will step in and make that decision for you. That process includes legal obligations under community property laws and how the court defines marital contributions.
2. Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property
Community property laws differ by state. Oklahoma uses equitable distribution rather than community property. Under community property, the assets, liabilities, and debt are generally split 50/50. Under equitable distribution, the court looks more closely at other factors such as financial need, nonmonetary contributions, and even things like economic misconduct and then divides up the assets, liabilities, and debts according to the actual situation of the couple. This process helps to prevent one spouse from taking most of the assets and leaving the other with little or nothing.
3. Economic Misconduct
Economic Misconduct is a measure that takes into account the spending habits of both spouses. If one has a gambling problem and wastes most of the income or incurs debts based on gambling, then the court would look at that and make a financial adjustment based on the severity of the economic misconduct.
- Borrowing money
- Excessive spending
Under community property divorce laws, these factors may not be considered.
4. Not all Property is Considered Community Property
While OK is not a community property state, it does recognize that property and assets acquired before the marriage remain outside the equitable distribution process. There are exceptions and economic misconduct can play into that process.
There are also other exceptions, and they fall under partial community property in Oklahoma. These generally include situations where individual or joint assets are so mixed that the court has to look closely at how to divide them. In some instances, individual assets may be deemed community property.
While divorce may be the only option for some couples, it is important to consider how divorce will impact each person. In Oklahoma, the court has flexibility in determining how property is distributed. While many people think that their individual assets are safe during a divorce, this may not always be the case.
Contact Owens Law Offices For Questions Regarding The Divorce Process
The best option for anyone getting a divorce is to hire a divorce attorney with the experience to help you find a fair and equitable arrangement before the divorce proceedings begin. Owens Law Offices serves the Oklahoma community before, during, and after divorce. Contact our experienced team today for more information!