Many people have religious or other emotional concerns pertaining to divorce, and the reasons leading up to divorce. First, know that Oklahoma family law courts prefer divorces on the grounds of incompatibility. As such, your attorney is likely to recommend that as the grounds for your divorce. However, if a specific ground for divorce applies because it has had a negative effect on your children of the marriage or on the dissipation of marital assets, it is worth considering whether other grounds should be requested as a basis of divorce. 43 O.S. ¶ 101 lists these grounds after incompatibility. A general summary of those grounds is as follows:
1. Abandonment for one (1) year.
4. When the wife at the time of her marriage was pregnant by another than her husband.
5. Extreme cruelty.
6. Fraudulent contract.
7. Incompatibility. Provided, however, where the interest of a child under eighteen (18) years of age is involved, the adult parties shall attend an educational program concerning the impact of divorce on children.8.
8. Habitual drunkenness.
9. Gross neglect of duty.
10. Imprisonment of the other party in a state or federal penal institution under sentence thereto for the commission of a felony at the time the petition is filed.
11. The procurement of a final divorce decree without this state by a husband or wife which does not in this state release the other party from the obligations of the marriage.
12. Insanity for a period of five (5) years, the insane person having been an inmate of a state institution for the insane and affected with a type of insanity with a poor prognosis for recovery. (This is more complicated if your spouse lacks mental capacity and you desire a divorce, and maybe required should this be a basis).
Sometimes, knowing the allowed grounds for divorce codified over time through multiple interests in our legislature can give you comfort of a just divorce. Even so, in most instances, it is more cost efficient to allege general incompatibility though other grounds may exist. If this is an important consideration to you, or your spouse lacks capacity, you should consult on this issue with your attorney carefully. Your facts in your case must be analyzed with thought as to whether the statute quoted above has been modified or amended.
Please contact Ms. Cinocca if you have any questions or call (918) 488-9117.