Jurisdiction to grant a divorce is governed by the Oklahoma Statutes, which require that either you or your spouse must be an actual resident of the State of Oklahoma, in good faith, for at least six months immediately prior to filing for a divorce. The term “actual resident” has been interpreted as domicile, which means that a person who moves to Oklahoma from another state must intend to make Oklahoma their permanent home. For an Oklahoma resident, domicile means that a temporary absence from Oklahoma does not necessarily defeat Oklahoma’s jurisdiction if the intent is to maintain permanent residency in Oklahoma. This residency requirement is jurisdictional, which means it goes to the very power of the Court to grant a divorce and cannot be waived by the parties.
Filing for divorce may be done in the county in which the filing spouse has been a resident for at least 30 days or in the county where the non-filing spouse resides. A divorce proceeding in Oklahoma has a new name of “Dissolution of Marriage” rather than a “Divorce.” This change in name does not alter the fact that it is a divorce. There are separate jurisdictional residency requirements for child custody, spousal support, and child support, which can become quite complex for an interstate family.
David W. Echols is an Oklahoma City divorce lawyer who specializes in family law issues such as divorce and child custody.