Alimony Laws

Oklahoma Alimony Laws

Alimony (also known as “spousal support”) is a court ordered payment from one spouse to another after a divorce has been filed. It can be ordered during the divorce on a temporary basis in a temporary order or as part of the court’s final order. It is separate from child support and should not be confused with “alimony in lieu of property division”.

Frequently Asked Questions – Alimony in Oklahoma

What is alimony in lieu of property division?

Alimony in lieu of property division is not really spousal support at all. It is a type of property division. Courts have the power to grant it if one spouse receives more of the marital estate property than the other. For example, if husband receives $6,000 more property than the wife in the court’s division of the marital estate, the court could order the husband to pay $500 per month for one year (for a total of $6,000) to the wife to make property division fair.

How much Alimony will I have to pay?

There is no formula or calculator to determine the amount of spousal support one spouse is entitled to receive. The trial judge has wide discretion in determining an appropriate amount of alimony based on the need of one spouse and the ability of the other to pay.

How long will I have to pay alimony?

There is no set rule on how long alimony payments will have to be made under Oklahoma law. Instead, the duration of the payments is left almost entirely up to the decision of the trial judge. Factors the trial judge may consider include the length of the marriage and the financial burden on the spouses. It is rarely permanent but may last several years.

How does the judge decide whether alimony is appropriate?

The judge will look at the totality of you and your spouse’s income, debt, assets, and the financial needs of the both parties.

Is it possible to predict whether I will pay or receive support alimony?

While it is not possible to predict with absolute certainty, an attorney experienced with spousal support can advise you about your chances of either having to pay or to receive alimony. Alimony awards can be highly complex and fact intensive. If alimony is being requested, it is extremely important you speak with an experienced attorney or you may end up paying tens of thousands of dollars in unjustified alimony. Likewise if you believe you may be entitled to alimony, an attorney can greatly increase you chances of being awarded alimony.

Does it matter if my spouse cheated?

Usually, no. Spousal infidelity itself is not relevant as part of an alimony determination under Oklahoma alimony law. However, there are some rare circumstances when certain behavior that accompanies spousal infidelity can affect alimony, such as economic fault.

How long do you have to be married to get alimony?

A common misconception is that there is a requirement that a marriage last for a certain number of years before alimony can be awarded. This is false. A court can award alimony in any divorce, regardless the length of the marriage.

Is there an Oklahoma Alimony calculator?

While some states use a calculation to determine spousal support, Oklahoma does not. The amount to be paid is determined by the trial judge.

Can only a wife get alimony?

No. Although alimony was traditionally only awarded to the wife, this is no longer the case. Gender is entirely irrelevant. A husband or wife may receive alimony in Oklahoma.

Is there any way to stop alimony once it has been ordered?

Yes. Under certain circumstances, such as if a former spouse remarrying or cohabitating or with someone they are romantically involved with it is possible to move the court to terminate the alimony.

What happens if I/my spouse refuse to pay?

Alimony awards are family law court orders. Disobeying a family law court order is punishable by contempt of court and may result in fines, legal fees, and jail time for the disobeying party.

Can the court order child support and alimony?

Yes. However, if a child support is ordered, it may reduce or eliminate that parent’s ability to pay spousal support, making it inappropriate.

What happens if I/my spouse declare bankruptcy?

If your spouse owes you alimony and later declares bankruptcy it is important you immediately contact an attorney, otherwise the alimony may be discharged because an objection may be required. Under bankruptcy law, “domestic support obligations” are usually considered non-dischargable.  A competent attorney can usually have the bankruptcy court determine that a spousal support payment is a domestic support obligation and thus a non-dischargeable debt.