In Oklahoma, every divorce involves property division. It can be one of the biggest areas of conflict, outside that of child custody. It can carry just as much emotion, because you have worked hard to build the life that you have, and that includes your home, your retirement, and all the things that you have accumulated in life. It is natural to want to protect it.
In a sense, property division can be boiled down to the following three questions:
- What do you own and what do you owe?
- Who is going to get the asset after the divorce?
- Who is going to pay the debt after the divorce?
In Oklahoma, the statute on property division is found in Title 43 O.S. § 121, which states:
The court shall enter its decree confirming in each spouse the property owned by him or her before marriage and the undisposed-of property acquired after marriage by him or her in his or her own right . . . As to such property, whether real or personal, which has been acquired by the parties jointly during their marriage, whether the title thereto be in either or both of said parties, the court shall . . . make such division between the parties as may appear just and reasonable, by a division of the property in kind, or by setting the same apart to one of the parties, and requiring the other thereof to be paid such sum as may be just and proper to effect a fair and just division thereof.
Marital vs. Separate Property
In Oklahoma, the court divides only the marital property. This is generally the property that the parties have acquired jointly during marriage.
The court is supposed to award to each party their own separate property, which is generally:
- Property acquired before marriage
- Property acquired during marriage by gift or inheritance, and
- Property acquired after separation