Most questions about a potential divorce case can be broken down into three types:
- The divorce process
- What are my rights in divorce?
- Will I be okay at the end of my divorce?
Divorce process questions center around how the courts process divorce cases. Questions about process usually include the time-frame for filing, who should file first, how long it takes, which court do I file in, can I avoid going to court, do I file for separation, etc. These questions are usually answered by referring to the Oklahoma statutes and rules for divorce.
What are my rights-type questions are fact specific with some reference to the divorce process itself. Rights questions usually include things like can I go for “full custody“, am I going to get alimony/spousal support, what happens to my student loans, what if I can’t pay the bills, do I still have to deposit my check into the joint account. Rights-based questions tend to be answered with “degrees of probability”. For example, your lawyer might respond, “it’s highly unlikely you’ll be awarded sole-decision making” or ” you’re mostly likely going to have to pay something in alimony.”
Will I be okay? questions are actually lurking behind perfectly natural place to begin. The goal is to recognize this fear in yourself – and in the other spouse – adopt it, manage it and turn it into something positive – it will be okay. In, fact the next stage in life could be fantastic.
What Are My Rights? When people come to Michelle C. Harrington for their free consultation, they often want to know what their rights are. Depending on what a person is asking, sometimes we can help with specific direction, but in other instances we are limited in what we can discuss. The difficulty with this question is that it often calls for legal advice. Lawyers are prohibited from giving legal advice to non-clients, by law, so if the real question being asked is “what am I entitled in my case?” then the question is one we cannot answer until after we’ve been hired.
It is important with a “what are my rights” question to provide the person resources that help them understand the difference between real fears and manufactured fears. All too frequently, we hear that the other spouse has threatened to “take the kids away”, or leave the other spouse with nothing. So many of these statements are without any basis in the law and only being made to create, or manufacture, fear. If you’re afraid, you’re more likely to do what they tell you to. In our opinion, the more information you seek out, the more likely it is you’ll be able to distinguish between real fears and manufactured fears.
Again, many questions must sometimes go unanswered until after you’ve hired your lawyer. However, doing some research, and scheduling a free consultation may go a long way toward helping you distinguish between real fears and manufactured fears.
What is the Divorce Process? – Oklahoma Divorce is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. The changes come fast and furious and are often beyond your control. There’s no shame in asking for help. Help may come from family, friends, lawyers, doctors, counselors or clergy. Whatever the source, make use of it – they really do want to help.
Oklahoma divorce cases are initiated with the filing of Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Petition must be served on the other party, who then has the chance to file a Response to the Petition. In a divorce petition, a party identifies the issues in the case, including:
- Division of Assets
- Division of Debt
- Spousal Support/Alimony
- Child Support
- Custody/Joint Custody
- Attorney fees