In a divorce, the parties are faced with many complicated issues that can make the procedures extremely stressful. Many couples have to go through the process of property division because each individual generally has a right to 50% of the assets obtained through the life of the marriage. However, the distribution of assets in Oklahoma can be much more complicated than simply dividing the assets in half. Unfortunately, this division sometimes involves the liquidation of assets. This can lead to unfortunate and stressful confrontations if you do not have the legal help you need to guide you through this process.
Our property division attorneys can help provide rational input as well as protection to the involved individual.
The state of Oklahoma is referred to as an “equitable distribution” state, which means that if the parties are not going to be able to settle their dispute informally, the court system will step in and follow a certain procedure to complete the property division/separation of assets. These steps are as follows:
- Discovery, much like in a civil court proceeding, in order to properly classify which items are considered “marital” property.
- Assign a monetary value to all the marital property and marital debt. Distribute the marital assets between the two parties in as equitable a manner as possible.
- Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed to be fair by the Court.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
When a court concludes the process of classifying assets as either “marital” or “non-marital,” the process of dividing the assets in as equitable a manner as possible begins. This does not mean that there will necessarily be a 50/50 split, but the court will attempt to leave each party in a somewhat equal standing given all the other considerations implicit in a divorce.
Equitable Distribution General Guidelines:
- “Substantial contribution” to the accumulation of marital assets: This includes such factors as direct or indirect contribution to marital assets, the amount of time spent providing stability and uniformity in the home environment and any contributions to education or training.
- The degree expenditures of the marital assets for which each party is responsible.
- The overall value, both market and emotional in nature, of each asset that is going to be distributed individually.
- The value of assets that would not normally be subject to distribution, such as an inheritance or gift given to one of the spouses.
- The economic consequences relating to taxes, contracts and third-party interests that would be assigned to each party.
- The manner to which the equitable property division would eliminate debts subject to regular payments and eliminate potential future conflicts.
- The interests of each party for financial security and stability in regards to assets already acquired, present and future income and future earning potential.
- Any factor that should be considered in the interests of equity. Other assets that the court may take into consideration when dealing with a property division case:
- The contributions of the other spouse to the marriage like non-monetary contributions of the homemaker
- The best interest of the children by setting aside a portion of the jointly and separately held estates of the parties into a separate fund
Our Tulsa property division attorneys are dedicated to supporting you through the challenges of the process with compassionate, aggressive representation. Contact our office at (918) 216-9644 for a consultation.