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Do I Need to File For Divorce in a Common Law Marriage in Oklahoma?

common law marriage in OklahomaThough most states do not recognize such unions, common law marriage in Oklahoma is still legally acknowledged.

This means that a couple did not have a wedding ceremony or obtain a marriage license. However, they hold themselves out as married and live together,as a married couple would.

Divorce in a common law marriage in Oklahoma can be complicated.

However, an experienced Tulsa divorce attorney can help.

FAQ: Common Law Marriage in Oklahoma

A typical problem many people in a marriage-like relationship face arises when one person:

1) believes they are in a common law marriage,

2) wants to break up, and

3) believes they are entitled to property or alimony.

Many people will raise the defense that they are not legally married when their partner claims that are entitled to their property as a part of a divorce.

The argument is “we were never married, so you are not entitled to my property as a part of this break up.”

The burden is now on the party who seeks a divorce to prove that they were, in fact, married at common law.

All of the following must be true in order to show a common law marriage in Oklahoma existed:

1) That both parties mutually agreed to become husband and wife.
2) That the relationship was permanent.
3) That the relationship was exclusive.
4) That the parties held themselves out publicly as married to each other.
5) That the parties lived together.

If the above is not true, you cannot file for divorce, as you were not actually married under Oklahoma common law.

If it is true, you can proceed with your Oklahoma divorce claim.

Getting Divorced in Tulsa

A common law divorce is just like a typical Tulsa divorce. Even if you were not legally married, you should still pursue your divorce so that the two of you can move on and prevent any legal issues from arising in the future.

Just as a legal marriage, a failure to divorce may leave your ex entitled to certain benefits that would, otherwise, go to your children or other beneficiaries in the event of your death.

Or, a failure to divorce would mean that money or other property you acquire will continue to be construed as “marital property,” to which your partner would be entitled.

Consider the following two scenarios:

A) Ryan and Rachel were married at common law. Because they never obtained a marriage license, they did not divorce when they broke up in 2010.

Ryan died in 2015 and Rachel now claims that she is entitled to his property, Social Security survivor benefits and money he had in his bank accounts.

Because the couple never divorced, the court can leave up to half of Ryan’s estate to Rachel and split the rest between his remaining heirs.

B) Ryan and Rachel were married at common law. Because they remained friends, they chose not to go through the stress of divorce or legal separation in the courts. They just parted ways.

In 2015, Ryan met Angela and wanted to marry her. He decided to finally file for official divorce papers from Rachel.

During the five years after their break up, the value of their marital home increased from $50,000 to $500,000.

Because they were never divorced, Rachel may now argue she is entitled to a portion of the $500,000, instead of the $50,000.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney

Common law marriage in Oklahoma can complicate any necessary divorce proceedings. However, an experienced Tulsa divorce attorney can help.

For a free consultation, call the Divorce of Tulsa Law Office today at 918-924-5526.