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Do I need to separate from my spouse before we can divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | Family Law

The short answer to this question is no, Oklahoma laws do not require spouses to legally separate before they can divorce. That said, there are multiple other requirements that you must fulfill before you can divorce in this state.

Residency requirements

Whether you still live with your spouse or live in separate homes, you must meet residency requirements before you you can file here.

Per state residency requirements, you or your spouse must be a resident in Oklahoma for six months immediately before you can file. Further, you must be a resident in the county you are filing in for 30 days immediately before filing for divorce in that venue.

Waiting periods

If you have no minor children and neither of you is contesting the divorce, it could potentially be final in 10 days. However, you must reach agreements on all divorce-related matters before finalization. These matters include property division and spousal support, if appropriate. 

If you take longer to reach agreements or going to court is necessary, these elements will extend the time it will take to finalize the divorce.

However, if you have minor children, there is a mandatory 90-day waiting period before courts grant a divorce. During this time, you may need to attend a parenting plan conference, depending on the county you live in.

Legal separation versus divorce

While there is no requirement that you must separate before divorcing in Oklahoma, it is something people choose to do for various reasons. Legal separation is essentially resolving all the same matters you would in a divorce and living separately, but you remain legally married.

Note that the requirements mentioned above will differ if you are interested in a legal separation versus divorce. And whether you are seeking a legal separation or divorce, there are exceptions and particular circumstances that could allow for adjustments to legal guidelines, as well.

That said, this information can give you some framework to help you assess your options and plan for what the road ahead might hold for you if you are ending your marriage.