Areas of Practice
Division of Assets
Aside from providing for the children, the division of assets and liabilities is typically the top concern among couples going through a separation or divorce.
At Stanley Myers Morgan, we understand the intricacies of division of property under Oklahoma law and we routinely ensure that clients throughout the Tulsa area are able to identify and protect their separate assets. In addition, we offer clients the expertise of attorneys experienced in multiple practice areas to address business and tax concerns that often accompany marital dissolution.
In the division of assets and liabilities (debts), an Oklahoma court will first decide which assets are separate property and what are marital property. At this stage, it is vital to show proof of ownership to protect your separate property.
Next, the court will add up the value of the marital property and subtract the value of your combined debt to come up with your net worth. Then the court will decide how to divide that net worth fairly through “equitable division.” It is a common misconception that Oklahoma is “50/50” state where assets are equally divided in all cases. In reality, Oklahoma law states that equitable division does not necessarily mean equal or 50/50, rather, it means that the division of property has to be “just and reasonable.” Because of this, an Oklahoma court may rule that one spouse gets more than half of the marital property if the judge believes that division is fair. Oklahoma differs in this way from a community property state, where all of the marital property is divided equally.
When determining a fair division, the judge will consider a number of factors including:
- Each spouse’s ability to work
- Disabilities of either spouse
- Who will be caring for the children
- The amount of alimony paid from one spouse to another
- The debts of each spouse
- Any fraud committed by one spouse on the other
- Any conduct that increased or decreased the value of marital property
While a judge will consider all of the above, they are limited in what they can take into account when dividing marital property. For example, a judge here in Tulsa can’t consider which spouse has a greater financial need for the property. Who contributed more money towards the purchase of property can’t be considered, either. In addition, your judge won’t consider the spouses’ personal conduct unless it affected the value of their property (infidelity can’t be considered by the court as a factor in equitable division).
As you can see, there are many aspects to property law in Oklahoma. At Stanley Myers Morgan, we understand what is required and will go the extra mile to ensure a fair settlement for our clients.