One of the biggest reasons for divorce in Oklahoma is conflict over money. Money problems can easily cause friction in a marriage. Of course, if money is an issue, it’s understandable that the divorcing couple might also worry about the costs of the divorce itself.
The costs of a divorce can vary widely depending on the couple’s circumstances. However, in every divorce there are some costs that you will have to pay.
Filing and Court Costs
One unavoidable cost of an Oklahoma divorce is the fee to file. Oklahoma’s divorce filing fee varies slightly – in Oklahoma County, for instance, the cost of filing for divorce with or without minor children involved is $183.70. Other counties in Oklahoma have similar costs, varying by five or ten dollars. Additionally, there are other costs associated with filing that this fee does not cover. For instance, there is an additional fee if the divorce forms need to be served by either a process server or a sheriff.
Finding an Attorney
If your divorce is uncontested, the filing and court fees are likely all you’ll have to pay. If you are going through a contested divorce, however, you will need the assistance of a qualified family attorney. Finding a good family lawyer can be a challenge, and it can also be a strain on the budget. Some lawyer’s fees run upwards of several hundred dollars an hour.
One thing to keep in mind is that contested divorces cost more than uncontested ones, simply because contested divorces take quite a bit more time. In a contested divorce each spouse must undergo a discovery process and appear in court to plead their case to the judge, while uncontested divorces can be handled almost entirely out of the courtroom.
In these cases, it’s important that you find an attorney who is willing to work with you. Some attorneys offer free, no-obligation initial consultations to hear out the facts of your case and help you make the best decisions regarding your case.
A recent change to the costs of divorce in Oklahoma is the addition of divorce education classes. If a divorcing couple has dependent children when they file, they must complete “divorce school” within 45 days of receiving their temporary order. These classes are designed to teach parents about the effects of divorce on children and how to mitigate any harm, as well as educate parents about the ways their children may respond to the change. This law takes effect on November 1, 2014, and it specifies that these classes must cost between $15 and $60.
Some Oklahoma counties also require parents with children to complete a parenting class. The exact parameters and fees for these classes vary by county, but they usually range between $20 and $30 per person. In special circumstances these classes can be waived by a judge. However, most parents must complete them – waivers are uncommon.
If you and your spouse have dependent children, child support is another major part of your divorce’s costs. The non-custodial parent will almost definitely have to pay child support to the custodial parent for at least the duration of the temporary order. The only cases where the non-custodial parent doesn’t pay child support are when they make significantly less than the custodial parent (due to unemployment, for instance).
Child support payments are difficult to estimate, since every divorce case is different. Depending on your income and the income of your spouse, you could pay several hundred dollars a month in child support payments. To get an idea of what your payments could be, contact a qualified Oklahoma family lawyer.
Along with child support, spousal support is a large portion of the overall cost of a divorce. There are two types of spousal support in Oklahoma: temporary spousal support, which is only paid while the divorce is being finalized, and alimony, which continues after the divorce is final. To learn more about how spousal support amounts are decided in Oklahoma, read our blog post about spousal support amounts.
In general, it’s almost impossible to predict what a spousal support payment might be. Support payments depend on your circumstances and finances. If you and your spouse are well-off, the support amounts will likely be higher than if you have a lower income. There is no formal way to calculate the amount of a spousal support payment, though. The amount of support is at the discretion of the judge in your case.
Asset and Property Division
A final cost of Oklahoma divorce is the inevitable division of marital property. In uncontested or collaborative divorces this process is transparent and (mostly) painless, as each spouse gets a say in the division. However, in contested divorces the division of property can be hotly debated.
As with child support and spousal support, it’s impossible to predict how much you stand to lose or gain in property division. A skilled Oklahoma divorce lawyer can help you get an idea of what the property division process will entail, but only a judge can decide who will receive what.
One common misconception when it comes to property division is that each spouse will end up with roughly 50% of the marital property. This is not the case. Property division takes into account the contributions of each spouse to the marriage – meaning if one spouse earned significantly more and bought more of the marital property, they may receive more of it upon divorcing.
If you’re concerned about how much your Oklahoma divorce will cost you, talk to Bryan Stratton. As an experienced Oklahoma family lawyer, Bryan can help you find out what to expect in your divorce case and avoid any major surprises. Call his office today 405-601-4411 to schedule your free, no-obligation initial consultation and protect yourself during your divorce.