T H E   L A W  O F F I C E S  OF
SELF MOREY & ASSOCIATES
A PROFESSIONAL LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY

Divorce, Custody & Family Law
  

The Oklahoma family lawyers at Self, Morey & Associates are ready to help you put the pieces back together when an issue of family law arises.  There are so many complex legal issues involved in divorce, custody and family law.  While an aggressive stance is appropriate in some cases, more often than not, however, it only serves to prolong what is already a very difficult time. If your unique situation requires an aggressive approach through litigation and a trial, we are prepared and capable of taking your matter to court.  If we are able to protect your legal rights through less confrontational means, such as skillful negotiation, mediation or collaborative divorce, we will do so.  In certain situations, less confrontational approaches can result in lower expenses and a speedier legal process.  This may allow you and your family to move forward and begin the healing process that follows divorce.  Don’t make the mistake of hiring an inexperienced or unprofessional attorney.  Let the outstanding Oklahoma family law attorneys at Self, Morey & Associates help you the right way, the first time. 

 

DIVORCE & SEPARATION
The courts of Oklahoma now refer to a divorce as a “Dissolution of Marriage.”  A separation, on the other hand, means that the right to cohabitation has been ended but you are still legally married.  Under a separation, the husband and wife are still considered married, but they may live in separate homes.  There are many advantages and disadvantages to being legally separated.  

 

Oklahoma is a “no-fault” divorce state.  This alleviates the need for one spouse to prove the other was responsible for the divorce through adultery, cruelty, desertion, drunkenness or other “fault.”  It also eliminates the need for the court to know why you are getting a divorce or who is to blame for your divorce.  Likewise, the pleadings that are filed in your case are not required to contain public record of potentially embarrassing or unnecessary information concerning the reasons for divorce.

Once a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has been filed and/or served, certain orders go into effect while the divorce is pending.  An Automatic Temporary Injunction prohibits the parties from doing many things such as making certain changes to insurance plans, opening the other party's mail, borrowing money, disposing of property, hiding the children, taking the children out of state, signing or depositing any checks made payable to the other party.  If you are considering filing for a divorce, or if you believe your spouse may be considering doing so, it is critical to protect yourself before and after the Automatic Temporary Injunction goes into effect.  The family law attorneys at Self, Morey & Associates are ready to help protect your legal rights.   

 

SUPPORT ALIMONY
Under certain circumstances in Oklahoma, the courts will award alimony and support maintenance to a party in need, provided that the other party has the ability to pay. 

 

DIVISION OF PROPERTY AND DEBTS
In a divorce, each party retains their separate property, and all marital assets, or joint industry property, is split through a process knows as equitable distribution.  Separate property is property that was owned prior to marriage, or acquired during the marriage through inheritance or gift.  Joint industry property is property acquired during the marriage through efforts, labors or “industry” of the parties.  Funds in a retirement account earned during the marriage are joint industry property.  Equitable distribution means that joint industry property will be split evenly unless, under limited circumstances, the situation warrants a different ratio of distribution.  The laws regarding separate property ensure that each spouse is entitled to keep the property they owned previous to the marriage as well as gifts and inheritances received during the marriage.   


Debts are divided much the same was a joint industry property.  Debts incurred prior to the marriage are considered separate debts.  Debts incurred during the marriage for family or household purposes are typically considered joint debts.  This usually applies regardless of who incurred the debt.  Exceptions to this rule are few and far between.   


CHILD SUPPORT
Oklahoma
child support is determined in accordance with guidelines that have been established by the legislature.  The amount of child support is based upon two primary factors:  1)  the combined income of both parents; and 2) the number of overnight visitation periods with the child.  Salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, severance pay as well as the sale of goods or services are included in determining earned income.  Other factors include daycare costs, regular recurring medical expenses, insurance costs, etc.  Child support will usually be paid until the child/children reach eighteen (18) years of age, or graduates high school, whichever is later.  Child support is often one of the primary points of contention in divorce and custody matters.  While the Oklahoma child support laws are based on a standardized system, the method of calculating child support can be difficult to navigate.  Ensure that your rights are protected by hiring the Oklahoma family law firm of Self, Morey & Associates. 


CUSTODY & VISITATION 

Oklahoma child custody laws include temporary custody, legal custody and physical custody. Oklahoma laws define temporary custody as the decision made by the parents as to the custody of the child at their time of separation. Although this determination may have been what was in the best interest of the child at the time of separation, it may not ultimately be in the best interest of the child, and the courts may ultimately rule differently.  In addition to many other considerations, the court will always consider what is in the best interest of the child in making a custody determination. 

 

Legal custody refers to which parent, or both, is authorized to make the legal decisions for the child regarding education, health care, religion, and his/her general welfare.  There are two types of legal custody in Oklahoma:  1) joint legal custody; and 2) sole legal custody.  Joint legal custody splits the decision making responsibilities between the parents, but one party is usually designated as the primary parent.  In the event the parties cannot agree, the primary parent has the final say.  Many parents find themselves back in court after a divorce over disputes regarding the primary parent’s decision making authority.  Sole legal custody allocates all of the decision making power to one parent, and the other parent has very limited input. 

 

Physical custody refers to where the child actually lives.  There are two types of physical custody:  1) joint physical custody; and 2) sole physical custody.  In a joint custody situation, the child actually lives with both parents on a rotating basis.  In a sole custody situation, the child lives with on parent and has visitation with the other.  In determining what type of physical custody to award, and which parent will be awarded physical custody, the Oklahoma courts consider many factors including which parent is more likely to allow frequent visits by the non-custodial parent and otherwise be cooperative with the other parent.


Supervised visitation is sometimes awarded to parents if the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child to see the parent, but the parent has demonstrated unfitness or inability to care for the child's needs.  In this situation, the parent with supervised visitation rights is required to provide, either a volunteer or paid supervisor, who will attend all visitation with the child to ensure that the child's needs are met and he or she is well cared for.
 

OUR FAMILY LAW SERVICES
Please contact the Oklahoma family law attorneys at Self, Morey & Associates with your questions.  We can help you with solutions to the following family law needs:

           

                        Adoptions                                         

                        Child Support

                        Child Custody
                        Divorce (Dissolution of Marriage)
                        Family Trusts
                        Guardianships
                        Prenuptial Agreements

                        Protective Orders
                        Spousal support and alimony
                       
Visitation Rights
               

                 

                       

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