Paperwork Required for Filing a Pro Se Divorce in Oklahoma
By Beverly Bird
“Pro se” is a legal way of saying you’re going to handle your divorce on your own. You don’t think you need the services of an attorney to help you and your spouse separate your lives. You might change your mind later, especially if you and your spouse can’t agree on a marital settlement agreement. However, filing the required paperwork to begin your divorce proceedings is usually the easy part in every jurisdiction, including Oklahoma.
Whether your matter is contested or uncontested, it begins with filing a petition for divorce in Oklahoma. The petition process includes four separate documents, in addition to the petition, and these must be completed and attached to it. One is a Verification, attesting that everything you’ve stated in your petition is true, and it must be notarized. Another is an Automatic Temporary Injunction Notice. This alerts your spouse that neither of you can take certain actions after you’ve filed for divorce, such as selling or dissipating marital assets or canceling any of your automobile or health insurance policies. You’ll need a Summons form, which tells your spouse how long he has to respond to your divorce petition by filing paperwork of his own. You’ll also need an official cover sheet. At the time of publication, Oklahoma does not offer these forms on its website. However, you can download them from most legal websites and you may be able to get some of them from the court clerk.
Oklahoma courts also require you to submit a completed Financial Affidavit when you file for divorce. This is an involved, eight-page document that might take you some time to fill out, so you probably won’t be able to ask the court clerk for it and complete it at the time you file your petition. It requires detailed information regarding your income, assets, debts and budget.
Documents Regarding Children
If you have children, you’ll need to file three additional documents in Oklahoma to initiate your divorce proceedings. The state requires you to file a parenting plan, called a Schedule for Visitation of Minor Children, explaining which parent you’d like your children to live with, and when they will have visitation with their other parent. You must also determine how much child support the non-custodial parent will pay. This involves completing a child support worksheet, and a child support schedule. The worksheet walks you through Oklahoma’s method of child support calculation, so you can arrive at the correct number based on your income and that of your spouse. The schedule enters the amount and acts as a proposed court order. If you enter an amount that doesn’t match up with the number you arrived at by completing the worksheet, the court will probably order a hearing.
Uncontested Divorce Documents
If you and your spouse are in agreement to divorce and you’ve resolved all issues between you, you can also submit a signed marital settlement agreement at the time you file your petition and your other documents. Some Oklahoma counties might also require you to draft a proposed divorce decree, including your agreement’s terms. If you don’t have children, the court will grant your divorce 10 days later. If you do have children, the court will finalize your divorce after three months have passed. Otherwise, your divorce is contested, and you’ll begin to receive notices for mandatory court appearances after you’ve filed your petition.
Beverly Bird is a practicing paralegal who has been writing professionally on legal subjects for over 30 years. She specializes in family law and estate law and has mediated family custody issues.