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The Nitty Gritty of Equitable Distribution in Oklahoma Divorce

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Oklahoma is one of forty states that is an equitable distribution state, which means that asset distribution after a divorce is accomplished fairly. Most people believe that assets and debts are divided 50-50 in a divorce, however in equitable distribution states, assets are divided based on the concept of fairness. equitable distribution

The division process is quite complicated and requires representation. You should hire a skilled Tulsa divorce attorney in order to accurately and properly receive items that are rightfully yours.

Separate Property and Marital Property

Before discussing how assets are divided, it is important to understand what is divided. Separate property remains the property of the owner; marital property is what is divided either through a settlement agreement or a family court judge.

Separate property is property that a spouse owned prior to marriage, any gifts from a third party to one spouse, inheritance and any legal settlements received during marriage. For example, your best friend gave you a birthday present, that is your separate property. However, if you purchase a laptop during the marriage it is not separate property.

Marital property is everything that is not separate property. Marital property is also referred to as ‘community property.’  Any property acquired during marriage, prior to separation, is marital property regardless of whose name is on title or which spouse claims to ‘own’ the item or asset.

Some great examples to further illustrate this concept can be found here. 

Fair Not Equal

Equitable distribution requires property, assets and debts to be divided fairly based on a number of factors. This means that one spouse could receive far more than 50 percent of the assets. Yet, based on the application of the factors, this would be considered a fair division.

Marital Settlement Agreement

As previously stated, property can be divided either through a settlement agreement or a family court judge. It is by far more beneficial to enlist the help of an experienced Tulsa divorce attorney to assist in the execution of a marital settlement agreement (MSA) because you do not want to leave your assets in the hands of the family court system.

You and our spouse can choose how to divide your family assets. You can divide the assets however you wish as long as you can testify in front of a judge why the division is just and equitable.

Factors

If you are not able to agree with your spouse on the division of the marital property, then a court will step in and do it for you. The judge distributes the marital property based on several factors. Some of the factors include:

  • Value of the property
  • Who contributed what property, asset or debt to the marriage
  • Sacrifices a spouse made during the marriage to benefit the family
  • Involvement with their children
  • How the asset is used
  • How the absence or presence of the asset or debt would affect the spouse or children

This is not an exhaustive list but gives an idea as to what the court is considering when distributing marital property.

Financial Contributions to the Marriage

One of the factors the court weights heavier than others is the financial contributions the spouse made to the marriage that allowed the purchase of marital property. If one spouse worked and contributed the majority of income, then that spouse would most likely receive more assets than the other spouse. However, the spouse that receives less assets may receive more in spousal support.

Free Consultation with a Tulsa Divorce Lawyer

Leaving your asset distribution up to the family court system can be risky, and if you are not savvy to equitable distribution, then the process can be tricky.

Meeting with a family divorce attorney will help you understand the process more thoroughly and be prepared throughout your divorce.

Contact an experienced Tulsa family law attorney when you need to go through the Oklahoma divorce process.

For a free confidential consultation, call (918) 924-5526.

 

 

 

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