Alimony, also known as spousal support, refers to monthly payments that are made from one spouse to another spouse in the event of a divorce. In some cases, alimony payments may even be required when a couple is legally separated. Specifically, in the state of Oklahoma, an individual can request alimony following a divorce, a legal separation, or the dissolution of a marriage.

Although the rules and procedures to obtain alimony or spousal support tend to vary by state, the purpose of alimony mostly remains the same—to help a receiving spouse support themselves until they can gain financial independence.

The exact amount of alimony that a recipient can collect on a monthly basis will depend on a number of factors. These include the length of a marriage, the couple’s lifestyle prior to the divorce, and the supporting spouse’s ability to take care of themselves in addition to paying alimony. A family law judge may also consider how long it may take the recipient spouse to get back on their feet based on details like their career, their age, and their mental and physical well-being.

It should be noted that Oklahoma does not offer an explicit list of factors for alimony payments in its state statute. Courts in Oklahoma will usually consider the couple’s lifestyle throughout the duration of the marriage and will typically assign alimony payments to the spouse with the higher salary if such payments are required.

Additionally, unlike some states, Oklahoma also does not provide a set formula to calculate alimony in its state laws. Thus, in most cases, a judge will have discretion to determine the amount of alimony to be paid, the period of time that alimony will be paid for, and which spouse will be responsible for making alimony payments. In other words, alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis in the state of Oklahoma.

Therefore, if you are looking to collect alimony during or after a divorce, then it may be in your best interest to contact an Oklahoma divorce or family lawyer in your area to find out if you are eligible for alimony, and if so, how you can file a petition for it with the court.

How Do You Qualify for Alimony?

As mentioned, Oklahoma does not have an exclusive list of factors in its statute for determining alimony. In general, an Oklahoma court will typically consider two factors: the needs of the receiving spouse and the financial capacity of the supporting spouse to meet those needs. Courts in Oklahoma also often take into account the couple’s lifestyle during the marriage as well as how long the marriage lasted before the couple filed for divorce.

The person seeking alimony must file a petition for alimony or spousal maintenance with their local family law court. They should include and attach these forms when they file a petition for divorce or when they respond to a petition for divorce.

The petitioning party will also have to prove that they are entitled to alimony by submitting relevant evidence, such as bank account statements, pay stubs, medical records, and/or written statements that explain why they had no income or why they were not supporting themselves throughout the couple’s marriage.

For instance, if a spouse petitioning for alimony was required to stay home from work to take care of the couple’s family and/or household, while the other spouse was able to pursue and work on their career during the marriage.

How Much Alimony Can You Receive?

As previously discussed, the amount of alimony that an individual can receive will depend on a number of factors, such as the length of a marriage, the financial status of the supporting spouse, and the amount that the judge decides is appropriate upon reviewing the divorcing couple’s circumstances. Generally speaking though, there are no set limits as to how much alimony a person can receive in Oklahoma.

A divorcing couple can also decide amongst themselves regarding how much alimony will be paid to the recipient spouse prior to attending their scheduled divorce hearing. However, a court will need to approve this amount before it issues a divorce decree. In addition, the amount of alimony that is awarded in the initial divorce decree can also be modified or terminated under certain conditions.

How Long Does Alimony Last?

The length of time that alimony payments last for will depend on the couple’s circumstances as well as court rules. For instance, some family law courts in Oklahoma use a standard that one year alimony is to be paid for every three years of marriage. While other courts throughout the state may require alimony to be paid up until the recipient spouse is remarried, living with a new significant other, or deceased.

In some cases, a judge may decide to award alimony indefinitely. This can happen in situations where a recipient spouse has a medical condition that prevents them from being able to get a job or from supporting themselves.

If a court only awarded temporary spousal support, then this type of alimony will end at the time the divorce decree is issued. However, this does not necessarily mean that the supporting spouse will not also have to pay standard alimony after the divorce is granted and in accordance with the divorce decree.

How Do You Petition for Alimony?

While individuals who are filing for divorce may petition for alimony on their own, it is generally recommended that they hire a lawyer to assist them with this process. Otherwise, the individual might risk inadvertently waiving their right to receive alimony. This can happen when a petition for alimony is not filed in accordance with a state’s spousal support guidelines or on time.

A petition for alimony must also be filed because a court will not know that a person needs this extra financial support unless they request it. Thus, alimony petitions should typically be filed at the beginning of a divorce case or in conjunction with a petition for divorce.

Additionally, if a person cannot obtain their daily needs (e.g., food, rent, etc.) without financial support before a divorce is finalized, a lawyer can help them to file a petition for temporary spousal support.

In order to petition for alimony in Oklahoma state, a person can download the proper forms from their local court. Depending on the circumstances, an individual may need to complete and file more than the standard forms required for divorce in Oklahoma (e.g., a petition for dissolution of marriage, a decree of dissolution of marriage, and an entry of appearance and waiver of service).

Additionally, they must attach the petition for alimony or a petition for spousal maintenance and file them along with the forms being submitted for divorce. After all forms are completed, notarized, and filed with the appropriate court, a hearing will be scheduled where the parties will be asked to appear and present their case in court. A judge will then issue an order granting the divorce, which will also contain the award and instructions for alimony.

Alternatively, the parties can determine alimony arrangements prior to the divorce hearing, as opposed to having a court decide for them. In which case, the parties can submit their alimony plan to the court for approval during their divorce hearing.

Where Can You Find the Right Lawyer?

As discussed above, you should consider hiring an Oklahoma family lawyer if you intend to seek alimony in a divorce. A lawyer who has experience in handling divorce cases in Oklahoma will already be familiar with the applicable laws and procedures required for compliance in requesting alimony, as well as can advise you of your rights under the relevant state laws.

Your lawyer can also assist you in gathering evidence to support your petition for alimony and can provide legal representation in court during any divorce proceedings.

As for how to go about finding the right Oklahoma family lawyer to take your case, you should search for a lawyer whom you feel comfortable working with and can trust that they have your best interests in mind. You can do this by utilizing any of the following methods:

  • By performing a basic online search and reading reviews;
  • Enlisting an attorney referral service;
  • Contacting legal aid services; and/or
  • By visiting the website for the Oklahoma Bar Association or a division of the Oklahoma Bar Association in your particular county.

In addition, you can also register with LegalMatch’s program where you will be asked to submit a short summary of your issue. LegalMatch will then provide a list of attorneys in your area who have the right experience, are willing to take your case, and are available for a free consultation.