Marital misconduct in Oklahoma are actions of a spouse that erodes the marital relationship. Misconduct includes actions such as abandonment, adultery, emotional or physical abuse, extreme cruelty, and dissipation of assets.
How misconduct will affect your divorce will depend on the type of misconduct that was committed and whether you can prove that it occurred.
How Does Marital Misconduct in Oklahoma Affect a Divorce?
Misconduct such as dissipation of assets may have an effect on the final distribution of marital assets.
Dissipation includes, but is not limited to, actions such as quietly getting rid of assets or hiding them in anticipation of divorce, excessive gambling, and spending large amounts of marital assets on a girlfriend or boyfriend.
If the misconduct had a negative financial impact on marital assets, the other spouse may be entitled to a share of the assets that were wrongly used for the other spouses own purposes rather than for the marriage.
Adultery and other types of misconduct, while having no effect on the division of the marital assets, may result in an adjustment in the amount of alimony that may be awarded to the wronged spouse. Generally, the adultery or other misconduct must have resulted in emotional damage to a spouse that causes a need for support.
Alimony is not awarded as a punishment for misconduct. It is awarded based on the accustomed standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, a spouse’s ability to pay, and on need.
Most marital misconduct in Oklahoma will have no effect on the award of child custody and visitation. An exception occurs when the misconduct had a negative effect or jeopardized the child’s well-being.
The court weighs several factors, including what appears to be in the best interests of the child’s physical, mental and moral welfare, when making a decision on child custody. A spouse who engages in misconduct that clearly is or has been detrimental to the child will not generally be awarded custody.
Why Do the Courts Ignore Most Types of Marital Misconduct?
Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital assets, including debts, are distributed in a manner that is equitable, not equal.
If the spouses cannot agree to a division of property, the court will decide for them. When considering how assets will be divided between the spouses, the court takes a variety of factors into consideration including what each spouse contributed to the marriage and what each spouse will need to move forward after the divorce including earning potential and medical needs.
The court will not consider marital misconduct in Oklahoma unless it has had some effect on the marital assets.
How to Prove Marital Misconduct
Proving that your spouse squandered your marital assets and that the squandering was not done in an effort to further the goals of the marriage can be difficult. Misconduct must be proven to have occurred during the marriage and the evidence must be admissible in court.
If you believe that your spouse committed marital misconduct, you should speak with an attorney who is experienced in Oklahoma divorce law.
Defenses to Claims of Marital Misconduct
Going through a divorce is difficult and stressful. Many times both spouses are angry or even hostile to each other and may make false claims of marital misconduct in Oklahoma.
Even if you are accused of misconduct that you did commit, if it did not affected the marital estate or endanger your children, if any, it is important to your divorce settlement to assert a defense.
An experienced Tulsa divorce attorney is your best source for defending yourself against claims of marital misconduct. In general, an attorney will determine your defense based on the type of misconduct that you have been accused of and by the facts that you present to the attorney regarding your specific situation.
Free Consultation: Tulsa Divorce Attorney
If you believe your spouse has committed or you have been accused of marital misconduct it is important to speak with an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in Oklahoma divorce law.
You can schedule a free consultation today by calling Divorce of Tulsa Law Office at 918-924-5526 and scheduling an appointment.