Family law refers to rules, regulations, and court procedures involving a family. As with most other areas of the law, whether you need a family law attorney depends on a number of factors specific to your situation. Although some family law matters may be handled without counsel, processes such as divorce and child custody often require the skill and expertise of a skilled attorney.
A divorce is the legal process of terminating or dissolving a marriage. For those actually going through a divorce, it can be so much more. It is one of the most important times in a client’s life. At Rubenstein & Pitts, we understand the difficult process of dissolving a marriage and are dedicated to working with our clients to find the most amiable course of action in the matter.
The court is responsible for examining all of the assets and debts a couple has accumulated and dividing them between the parties. When children are involved, the court must also determine which parent will be awarded custody, how much time the child spends with each parent and what amount of child support will be awarded.
The attorneys of Rubenstein & Pitts have a wealth of experience in Oklahoma divorce law. We have developed the compassion and expertise necessary to help our clients through the most trying times. We focus on the details of our clients’ divorce cases so they can focus on parenting their children and rebuilding their lives.
Process of a Divorce Case
A divorce case begins with the filing of a “petition” in the District Court of the county where the parties reside. The petition lets the court know what issues are involved in the case and why the divorce is being requested. Oklahoma law allows a court to grant a divorce for the following reasons:
- Gross Neglect
- Habitual Drunkenness
After Receiving a Petition for Divorce
After a Petition is filed, the Petitioner is required to serve the Respondent. Once the Respondent has been served with a Petition, he or she has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit. Failure or refusal to respond within the time period allowed by law allows the court to grant divorce to the Petitioner under whatever terms he or she requests, without any further knowledge of the Respondent.
If you have been served with a Petition in a divorce action, it is of utmost importance to seek the advice of a qualified Oklahoma divorce attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers of Rubenstein & Pitts can ensure that your rights are protected.
Application for Temporary Orders
Oklahoma allows the parties in a divorce case to ask the court for relief while a divorce action is pending. An Application for Temporary Orders is normally filed at the beginning of a new divorce case, and it can address any number of issues. Commonly, a party will seek temporary orders regarding custody of children, child support, support alimony and/or possession or the marital home or vehicle. Temporary Orders are only effective until a court has issued a Decree of Divorce.
At Rubenstein & Pitts, our experienced lawyers have assisted divorce clients at all stages of their divorce cases. Our attorneys communicate frequently with our clients to ensure they are informed of their rights, and we fight aggressively to ensure that they receive everything they deserve.
Before a divorce trial begins, a party has the often difficult task of gathering all of the evidence they will need to present to the court, known as “discovery”. The different elements that are important in this phase of divorce as dependent on the issues at hand between the parties: child custody, property division, etc.
If child custody is an issue, the court will need to hear evidence regarding which party has been the most active in the child’s life, through supporting the child’s academic pursuits and extracurricular activity, responsibility for taking the child to medical and dental appointments or who has been most involved in the child’s life.
When dividing marital assets and debts, a divorce court must receive verifiable proof of the value of every asset owned by either party, including bank accounts, retirement accounts and real estate.
Our attorneys know the discovery process well and utilize all of the tools allowed by Oklahoma law to gather all of the testimony and documentary evidence available to support our clients. We leave no stone unturned when gathering the evidence to present at trial so that our clients are prepared and confident when they stand before the judges that decide the fate of their children and their assets.
However, for most cases, settling a divorce is the best option rather than going to court trial. Settling is the only way that a party can truly control the ultimate outcome of his or her divorce.
When is a divorce final?
Oklahoma has a waiting period that applies after a divorce case is filed. In cases involving the custody of minor children, the waiting period is ninety days. If there are no minor children involved, the waiting period is ten days. However, If both parties to a divorce have agreed to the terms of their divorce, the court may waive the applicable waiting period.