First, the court decides what property is separate property and what is marital. Next, the court adds up the value of the marital property and subtracts the value of the couple’s debts to come up with their net worth.
Finally, the court will decide how to divide the couple’s net worth fairly between the two of them through a process called “equitable division.” Oklahoma law specifically says that equitable division does not necessarily mean equal or 50/50, rather, it just means that the division of property has to be “just and reasonable.” This means that the court can give one spouse more than half of the marital property if the judge believes that division is fair.
For example, Oklahoma courts can’t consider which spouse has a greater financial need for the property, or who contributed more money to the purchase of property.
If a divorcing couple did not sign a valid prenup, and they can’t agree how to divide their property, a court will have to make that decision for them.With complex valuations, it may be helpful to hire a professional appraiser, business valuator, or other expert to provide a reliable value.When a pension is earned during the marriage, the court decides what fraction will be given to the other spouse.If you and your spouse can agree on a fair split of your property, it is generally preferable to do so, because if you can’t agree, you may end up in an expensive, drawn-out court battle, after which a judge will decide who gets what.Sometimes, spouses have signed an “antenuptial agreement” prior to their marriage, also known as a “prenuptial agreement,” which specifies how their property will be split in the event of a divorce.A spouse’s access to funds for expensive counsel may create the impression that they can make good on threats.Fortunately, Oklahoma law protects your rights in a divorce.A date in divorce court can be a frightening prospect.During marital conflict that precipitates a divorce, a spouse may have threatened to withhold support, seize property or abscond with children.When the court values marital property, it needs to figure out what each piece of property is worth.In Oklahoma divorce cases, the value of property is its current “fair market value,” which is what a buyer would be willing to pay, and a seller willing to accept, for the property on the open market.