Change of Venue Allows You to Transfer a Family Law Case
Sometimes, the venue chosen for your divorce may prove inconvenient. Either spouse can choose the court and county for a divorce proceeding. Sometimes what is convenient for one spouse is inconvenient for the other. Oklahoma law provides a remedy for that. In some cases, it is possible to transfer a family law case to or from another county. Here is what you need to know.
Venue and Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction and venue are related concepts. Jurisdiction refers to the state and court in which you file an action. Venue refers to the county in which an action is filed. Therefore, in transferring a case to or from Wagoner County, you are really looking to the venue the action is filed in.
Oklahoma Law Allows Change in Venue For Family Law Cases
Generally speaking, an action for divorce must be filed in the county that one spouse has been a resident of for at least the last 30 days immediately preceding the filing of the petition (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 103). If the action is for a legal separation, there is no specific time limit for residency, but the petition must be filed in the county in which one of the spouses lives.
You can ask the court for a transfer to another county if the court determines that it is an inconvenient forum under the circumstances, and the court in another county is a more appropriate forum consistent with the factors enumerated under the Oklahoma statute regarding inconvenient forums.
The issue of inconvenient forum may be raised upon a party’s motion, the court’s own motion, or the request of another court.
Some of these factors outlined in Oklahoma law pertain exclusively to issues involving children, while others pertain to the parties more generally (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 551-207). They include such things as:
- Whether domestic violence has occurred and is likely to continue in the future, and what forum can best protect the parties involved
- The length of time the parties have resided outside the forum at issue
- The distance between the two venues
- The relative financial circumstances of the parties
- Any agreement between the parties regarding venue
- The nature and location of the evidence required to resolve issues in the divorce
- What venue might allow a quick resolution and the procedures necessary to present the evidence.
Weighing the Factors To Transfer a Family Law Case
In making its determination, the court wants to ensure that transferring the matter will make it more convenient and easier to resolve the issues between the parties. Often, this means that witnesses and evidence are located in the other county.
This can happen if all parties lived in the other county until recently. In that case, producing witnesses and evidence would be easier in the other county. In that case, a court may well grant a motion to transfer the venue.
These motions are more likely to be granted early on in the proceedings. The longer a court spends with the case, the more likely it will be to hang onto the case rather than transfer it. There is less benefit to be gained in a transfer if the first court has done a substantial amount of work on the case. Therefore, any motion to transfer should be brought up early.
Likewise, a court is less likely to change venue if the distance involved is minimal. The outcome of a proposed transfer really does have to make the matter easier, more just, and more convenient for everyone.
If you are considering such a motion, bring your questions and concerns to an experienced Wagoner family law attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand what options may be best for you and your circumstances.
Free Consultation with a Wagoner Family Law Attorney
Where a family law matter is filed can make a big difference in how it is handled. The right venue can make it easier to resolve. Get the help you need today to understand how best to handle your situation. Wirth Law Office – Wagoner offers its clients the best possible family law, divorce, child custody, and child support representation in the Wagoner, Oklahoma area at reasonable rates.
We invite you to schedule a free consultation to discuss what we can do for you. Contact Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 to schedule your free consultation. You can also fill out the form at the top of the page.