Divorces can be complicated, no matter the cause. While amicable or uncontested divorces can save money and time, this is not possible for some couples. Certain divorces go to trial in Oklahoma. If you’re getting divorced, whether or not you envision a trial, it is encouraged to have Oklahoma City divorce lawyers help you understand your options and how to proceed.

Why Would a Divorce Go to Trial in Oklahoma?

A divorce can go to trial for many reasons in Oklahoma. When couples exhaust all options and cannot agree on divorce matters, they go to trial to have a judge settle their disagreements. This process can be costly and slow, but it achieves results for spouses who need help from the court. Examples of differences that may cause a case to go to trial include:

  • Child support amounts
  • Spousal support amounts
  • Fair property division
  • Visitation rights
  • Child custody types and agreements

In a trial, a judge will attempt to create a divorce order that is fair to both spouses. For matters involving children, judges will prioritize the children’s best interests above all else.

Why would a divorce go to trial in Oklahoma?

Filing for Divorce

Once at least one party agrees to get divorced, they will file the necessary papers and serve the other spouse. Once the spouse responds or the response-waiting period has expired, the divorce process continues with a hearing scheduled to determine what, if anything, the couple agrees upon related to the divorce. Sometimes, a judge may order mediation or negotiation between the couple so they can potentially work out any issues before their trial.

Negotiations or mediation can result in the divorce becoming uncontested if the parties agree on applicable matters. In this case, there would be no need for a trial.

The Role of Mediation in the Divorce Process

Most modern attorneys encourage their clients to utilize divorce mediation when available. A skilled mediator can help solve even the trickiest issues, like child custody arrangements or property division, through mediation, one of the most effective forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Mediation is advantageous for reasons such as:

  • Being cheaper, quicker, and more straightforward than litigation
  • Fostering a space for open communication between spouses
  • Giving spouses more control over their circumstances and outcomes
  • Allowing a more flexible timeline for the divorce
  • Granting more satisfaction if things go well

What Is a Divorce Trial Like in Oklahoma?

Divorce trials in Oklahoma happen before a judge. During the trial, both parties present their case. A typical list of events would be opening statements, witness testimonies, cross-examinations, and presentation of evidence. If one or both parties have attorneys, their attorneys should guide them through each step, what to expect, and how to properly represent their interests to the judge.

After the initial proceedings, the judge will determine outstanding factors such as property division, child custody and support, spousal support, and visitation rights. It should be noted that judges in Oklahoma use equitable distribution rules instead of a community property statute.

Once the trial ends, the court will outline the divorce terms and anything decided during the trial. The parties must review the court’s judgment to understand their responsibilities and rights.

Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution

The main difference between community property and equitable distribution is that equitable distribution leads to a judge using more discretion when dividing property. In community property states, assets and debts are lumped together and split evenly.

With equitable distribution, the judge determines the split of assets and debts based on what they think is fair for the case.

How to Avoid Trial in Oklahoma

Divorce trials are emotionally, physically, and financially draining. Avoiding them can lead to better outcomes for those involved in many cases. Whether through mediation or other alternative dispute resolutions, those going through a divorce or seeking a divorce are encouraged to attempt to settle disagreements outside of a trial.


Q: What Happens at a Divorce Trial in Oklahoma?

A: At a divorce trial in Oklahoma, both parties are expected to present evidence, witnesses, financial records, and sometimes expert witnesses. Once each party is heard, the court decides on all relevant issues: spousal support, child custody, child support, division of assets, the marital home, and others.

If this feels like an invasion of your privacy, seek negotiation or mediation when possible. A skilled attorney will explain your options for avoiding a divorce trial.

Q: How Long Can a Divorce Be Pending in Oklahoma?

A: A divorce in Oklahoma can be pending for however long it takes to receive a court date or for the mandatory waiting period to expire. If you have children, you must wait 90 days from filing divorce papers to finalize a divorce. If you do not have children, there is a 10-day waiting period.

Despite these waiting periods, if you seek a contested divorce, your divorce may seem to be pending longer than expected because of the contested issues. If you are not already, it is wise to seek mediation to determine if there are any issues you can agree on as a couple.

Q: Can You Stop a Divorce After Filing in Oklahoma?

A: In order to stop a divorce after filing in Oklahoma, both parties have to agree to cancel or terminate the proceedings. If one party wants to continue, the divorce cannot be stopped. If one party refuses to contribute to the divorce process, there is a mandatory waiting period, and when this period is up, the case might go to trial.

Q: What Is a Contested Divorce in Oklahoma?

A: A contested divorce in Oklahoma is any divorce in which the relevant parties do not agree on one or more related issues, such as child custody, spousal support, or property division. A contested divorce takes more time, energy, and money than an uncontested divorce.

Help Before and After a Divorce Goes to Trial

Navigating divorce proceedings can be difficult for all parties involved. Although seemingly impossible in the beginning, many couples reach agreements on issues before they go to trial. Sometimes, these agreements are reached through mediation, negotiations, or other methods. Contact an experienced attorney at Stange Law Firm, PC, to see what you can do to make your divorce process easier.