Oklahoma is one of forty states that practice equitable distribution, implying that assets are distributed evenly following a divorce. Most people assume that after a divorce, support and debts are split 50-50; however, in equitable distribution states, assets are distributed based on fairness. a fair distribution
The division of assets in Oklahoma divorce procedure is lengthy and involves counsel. In order to collect goods that are rightly yours, you need to employ an experienced divorce attorney.
Marital Property and Separate Property
It is critical to understand what is split before addressing how assets are divided. Separate property remains the owner’s property; marital property is split by a settlement agreement or a family court judge.
The property possessed previous to marriage, gifts from a third party to one spouse, inheritance, and legal settlements earned during the marriage are all examples of separate property. If your best friend bought you a birthday gift, it is your distinct property. However, a laptop purchased during the marriage is not considered distinct property.
Everything that is not the independent property is considered marital property. ‘Community property’ is another term for marital property. Regardless of whose name is on the title or which spouse claims to “own” the item or asset, all property acquired during the marriage prior to separation is marital property.
Learn more about Oklahoma’s concept of marital property.
Not Equal, but Fair
Equitable distribution is dividing property, assets, and obligations equitably depending on a variety of circumstances. This implies that one spouse may be entitled to more than half of the assets. However, this would be regarded as a reasonable divide depending on the reasons. Equitable distribution might also imply a nearly 50/50 split of assets, with one spouse paying alimony to the other. When one spouse was the principal breadwinner, and the other contributed more to family or domestic tasks, courts are more likely to give alimony.
Agreement on Marital Settlement
As previously noted, property may be distributed by a settlement agreement or a family court judge. Because you do not want to leave your assets in the hands of the family court system, it is considerably more advantageous to engage the services of an experienced divorce attorney to assist in signing a marital settlement agreement (MSA).
You and your spouse may decide how your family’s assets are divided. You may split the assets whatever you choose as long as you can prove it is reasonable and equitable in front of a court.
If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to divide your marital property, a court will step in and do it for you. The court divides the marital estate depending on a number of circumstances. The following are some of the factors:
The property’s worth
What property, wealth, or debt did each person bring to the marriage?
During the marriage, a partner makes sacrifices for the family’s welfare.
Participation in their children’s lives
How is the asset used?
How the spouse or children might be affected by the asset or debt’s absence or existence
This is not a full list, but it provides you a sense of what the court takes into account when dividing marital property under equitable distribution theories. Courts have extensive, but not unlimited, authority in determining what is fair and equitable. The ideas of community and marital property further constrain the ability of courts to allocate property fairly following a divorce.
Oklahoma Community Property
The principle of the communal property also governs how courts in different jurisdictions deal with fair distribution. Oklahoma is a property-sharing state. That implies both partners hold an equal share of the marital property. On the other hand, Oklahoma enables couples to own property as joint tenants or tenants in common. The latter permits many parties to have unequal ownership interests.
Debts accrued during the marriage are usually allocated to both spouses when marital property is community property. A court might absolve the innocent spouse of debts committed without their knowledge if one partner was ignorant of the other’s obligations.
Contributions to the Marriage’s Budget
As a community property state, Oklahoma does not always take into account who contributed what to a marriage when dividing property or assigning obligations. When one or both partners have property obtained outside of the marriage, this is known as an expectation. Non-marital property is a property that is inherited during a marriage.
Individual assets acquired before marriage are treated as such until they are mixed with marital assets. Unless the other spouse helped upgrade or pay for the property, a residence acquired before the marriage might be considered an individual asset. If the money is mixed in a bank account, one spouse’s inherited assets might be converted into marital property.
It’s hazardous to leave wealth distribution to the family court system. The method might be difficult if you are unfamiliar with equal distribution.
Meeting with a family divorce lawyer can help you better understand the process and be more prepared for your divorce.
When you need to go through the Oklahoma divorce procedure, contact an experienced divorce lawyer.