The divorce process is controlled by the participants, in that it goes as far as the parties want to take it. You could get lucky and settle the case in a month, but you don’t know for sure that is going to happen because you cannot control how your spouse handles it. Your attorney must be preparing at all times for a trial. Many people do not realize that a contested divorce is a full-blown court battle. The court proceedings of a divorce are almost exactly the same as any other civil case, therefore, a divorce can last up to two years. Our firm will walk you through the process step-by-step in order to ensure the best possible outcome for you.
The Adversarial System
The American legal system is, by nature, adversarial. The system is set up so that each side presents their version of the facts to an impartial judge who determines where the truth lies in those facts. This means that your attorney will present your facts in the best possible light for you, and will try to discredit the other side’s version of the facts. However, the other side will be doing the same to you: they will be presenting their facts in a way that makes them look good and you look bad. Our system has a set of complex legal rules and procedures that help ensure a fair opportunity for you to respond.
Getting a divorce through this system can make an already difficult situation even more fraught with emotions. Anger, stress, depression, fear, resentment, doubt, and insecurity; all of these emotions may be incorrectly aimed at you, your spouse or others. While we are aggressively advocating for your rights to get you the most in the divorce, it is important for you to remember that your spouse is doing the same because this is the way our system is set up.
Types of Outcomes
1. Trial – Trials in divorce cases are rare. If you and your spouse absolutely cannot come to an agreement, a trial will be required. Some small issues may get settled beforehand, but the remaining issues will be decided by a judge that hears thousands of cases per year, knows nothing about you and cares even less about your problems.
2. Litigated Settlement – This is the classic type of settlement. Both sides prepare to fight heavily in court. In doing so, the attorneys point out all of the flaws in the other side’s case. Often times, on the eve of trial, both sides will see weaknesses in their case and settle with the other side.
3. The Attorney-Negotiated Settlement – This settlement involves little or no adverse court action. Both spouses are cooperative and disclose financial and other information to your attorneys so the case can be settled without heavily preparing for trial.
4. Client-Negotiated Settlement – With this settlement, you and your spouse attempt to resolve the issues in your divorce with little help from your attorneys. Your attorneys then draft divorce documents based on your agreements.
5. Mediated Settlement – With a Mediated Settlement, a licensed mediator will attempt to create a safe environment for you and your spouse to discuss your issues and come to an agreement regarding the divorce. Your attorney will be with you to ensure your legal rights are fully respected.
Divorce. A divorce is the end of your legal rights and obligations as a married person. In Oklahoma, the term used in court is “Dissolution”. You will no longer have any rights to your spouse’s property or obligations to each other. However, if you have children, you will still have rights and obligations to your children.
Uncontested Divorce. An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree on every single issue in the divorce and put it in writing.
Contested. A “contested” divorce happens when the parties cannot agree on one or more issues—no matter how small the issue.
Pleadings. A pleading is any legal document submitted to the court.
Petition for Dissolution. A divorce starts with the initial pleading, called a Petition for Dissolution. It states why the parties should be divorced and what each should get. The spouse who receives the Petition for Divorce files a response to the allegations stating what that spouse thinks each should get.