Wagoner Lawyer Blog Wagoner County Family Law: What Are the Grounds for Divorce?

Oklahoma is Now a No-Fault Divorce State

wagoner divorce attorneyOklahoma has followed the trend that most states have taken in instituting a no-fault system for divorces within the state. Before, all divorces had to allege and prove a recognized legal fault as the grounds for divorce.

This meant that spouses seeking divorce had to allege that the other spouse had done something wrong. Making couples allege and prove fault such as adultery made an already difficult situation much worse. Now, you no longer have to allege fault. Instead, you can allege “irreconcilable differences” or “irreconcilable incompatibility” as the grounds for divorce.

Irreconcilable Incompatibility or Differences

divorce attorney wagonerAlleging irreconcilable incompatibility or irreconcilable differences is the standard for a no-fault ground for divorce. In essence, you are stating that the marriage is so broken that there is no way you and your spouse can live in peace together.

The marriage must be dissolved for the parties to find peace in their lives again. The allegation is simple to make in the divorce petition, and it must be made under penalty of perjury. Once made, however, it doesn’t really need to be proven in the same way that the old “fault” grounds such as adultery had to be proven. This makes a divorce proceeding go more smoothly and, often, less acrimoniously.

Grounds For Divorce Can Still Be Based on Fault in Oklahoma

The at-fault grounds are still on the books in Oklahoma and can be used as the grounds for divorce (Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 101). They can be alleged in either the petition or the responsive pleading by the other spouse. These grounds include:

  • abandonment for more than 1 year
  • uncondoned adultery (the other spouse didn’t approve)
  • impotency
  • wife impregnated by another man at the time of the marriage
  • extreme cruelty (very fact-specific)
  • fraudulent contract
  • habitual drunkenness
  • gross neglect of duty
  • imprisonment in a state or federal prison for a felony
  • an invalid divorce decree within the state
  • insanity for a period of 5 years in which the party is committed to an institution and has a poor prognosis for recovery

Some of these grounds may seem odd, but these cases do occur. For example, a marriage is a contractual arrangement. If there was fraud in the inducement, a lot of lying perhaps, this forms the basis for this ground for divorce.

Defenses to Fault Allegations

If you decide to allege fault, you should know some of the possible defenses that your spouse may raise. With regard to adultery, if a spouse condones or approves, a possible defense is forgiveness. This defense can be used when a spouse knew of the adultery and continued living with the spouse who committed the adultery.

With regard to habitual substance abuse or habitual drunkenness, an obvious defense is that the use or abuse is episodic or occasional. In order to be a valid ground for divorce, the use or abuse must be habitual or chronic.

Alleging Fault Complicates Things

attorney divorce wagonerBefore alleging fault, you should know that you will need to prove the allegation you are making. That means introducing witnesses and other evidence. That also usually means a trial, and that is expensive.

Most of the time, it is better to allege irreconcilable differences and get the divorce done quickly and easily. It is better for your wallet and your peace of mind. Your Wagoner divorce attorney can help you understand what might be best for you and your circumstances.

Free Consultation with a Wagoner Divorce Attorney

Get the help you need today to understand how best to handle your situation. Wirth Law Office – Wagoner offers its clients the best possible 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.

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