Oklahoma law requires an individual provide the court with a reason to grant a divorce. Title 43, Section 101 of the Oklahoma statutes provides 12 grounds upon which the district court may grant a divorce. The 12 grounds include:

Abandonment for one year;
When the wife, at the time of her marriage, was pregnant by another than her husband;
Extreme cruelty;
Fraudulent contract;
Habitual drunkenness;
Gross neglect of duty;
Imprisonment of the other party in a state or federal penal institution under sentence thereto for the commission of a felony at the time the petition is filed;
Procurement of a final decree without this state by a husband or wife which does not, in this state, release the other party from the obligations of marriage;
Insanity for a period of five years with the insane person having been an inmate in a state institution for the insane or a private sanitarium, and affected with a type of insanity with a poor prognosis for recovery.

History of Divorce in Oklahoma

Prior to 1953, the list did not include incompatibility and a spouse seeking divorce had to prove one of the grounds by competent evidence. There was much litigation over what the terms meant. For example, the Oklahoma Supreme Court defined abandonment as living apart for one year without good cause.[1] The definition of Gross Neglect of Duty also created litigation. the Oklahoma Supreme Court defined “gross neglect of duty” as glaring, shameful, obvious, and inexcusable neglect of marital duties.[2]

In 1953, the Oklahoma Legislature added incompatibility as a ground for divorce. This ground essentially created “no fault” divorce in Oklahoma. Oklahoma was the first state to begin the “no fault” divorce revolution, which is common in most states today.[3]

What “incompatibility” means has developed since enactment in 1953. Initially, the Supreme Court examined whether there had to be mutual incompatibility or what level of participation each party needed in a divorce.[4] In 1968, the Court held that incompatibility was truly no fault, as a divorce could be granted whenever the evidence showed the spouse requesting the divorce had contributed to the incompatibility.

If You Have Questions Regarding Grounds for Divorce in Oklahoma

Our Tulsa divorce attorney can guide you through the process, help you formulate goals, set realistic expectations, formulate a case strategy, negotiate from a position of strength, and ultimately be prepared to litigate, if reasonable agreements cannot be reached. It is important to seek counsel from a qualified Tulsa divorce attorney who is dedicated to supporting you through the challenges of the process with compassionate, yet thorough and aggressive representation.

[1] Stieber v. Stieber, 1921 OK 264.

[2] White v. White, 1955 OK 56.

[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divorce_in_the_United_States

[4] Hughes v. Hughes, 1961 OK 112; Wegener v. Wegender, 1961 OK 241.