If your marriage is ending, then one of the first questions that will likely cross your mind is what will happen to your property. Your and your spouse’s assets are central to the divorce process. The court gets involved to ensure that property is split between you and your spouse according to the law. This means that the court must know what assets you both acquired before and during your marriage, and the values of these assets for purposes of authorizing a split. Here are some things to consider in anticipation of divorce as it relates to splitting up your property in Oklahoma.
The Law on Equitable Distribution
Under Oklahoma law, when your marriage is dissolved, marital property is equitably or fairly distributed between you and your spouse. Marital property is property or assets that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage. It may include houses, bank accounts, retirement accounts, businesses, cars, household furnishings, and any other type of property.
Assets that you or your spouse had before the marriage are considered separate or individual property unless you and your spouse mixed them together with marital assets. For example, if you had a savings account prior to your marriage and you did not contribute to or withdraw any money from the account while married, the court may consider this separate property because it was never mixed with possible marital funds. Each spouse will normally be allowed to keep their separate property after the divorce.
You and your spouse may decide together on a fair distribution of marital property. When spouses cannot come to an agreement, the judge determines an equitable or fair distribution. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split of assets. Instead, it refers to a distribution of the marital property in a way that is fair to both parties given the circumstances and based on a number of factors including:
- the length of the marriage
- the age and health of each spouse
- alimony paid from one spouse to another
- how each spouse contributed to the marriage
- current incomes
- future prospects for employment and income
- conditions each spouse will face after the divorce
- child custody
- the cost of raising a child
- tax consequences
- whether one spouse defrauded the other
- whether a spouse did something that increased or decreased the value of the marital property
Judges have the discretion to consider if the above factors, as well as any other factors they believe, are relevant to deciding an equitable distribution of marital assets.
Getting Your Documents in Order
It is best for you to organize information about all of your and your spouse’s assets and liabilities. Make note of all deeds, mortgage documents, bank account statements, investment account statements, and other information concerning the ownership of your property. In order for there to be an equitable division of the assets owned by you and your spouse, it is vital to have current information about your sole- and jointly-owned assets and liabilities, and information about your spouse’s solely-owned assets and liabilities. You’ll want to ensure that your spouse is forthcoming about what they have in their name alone. By promptly providing accurate and organized information to your attorney, your divorce could move along more quickly.
Hiring an Attorney for Property Division in Divorce
Few things are as stressful as divorce especially when there are many assets involved. Asset division in divorce can become extraordinarily complex and may seriously affect your wealth and quality of life. An experienced family law attorney can give you peace of mind by ensuring that your rights are protected throughout this difficult time. Naidu Law is well-versed in the Oklahoma divorce process and the issues that come up with asset division. We have meaningfully helped many people with respect to divorce, child custody, child support, and other important family law matters. To learn more about how we can help you, get in touch with one of the knowledgeable family law attorneys at Naidu Law by calling (405) 792-2400 or by contacting us online.