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8 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Divorce

8 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Divorce

petition for divorceDivorce involves a legal action to terminate a marriage. It encompasses the decision of the court to dissolve the marital union, as well as the legal responsibilities that accompany marriage. There are various processes and sanctions during divorce, depending on the country, and based on the US Census Bureau data, the number of divorce cases is constantly rising, with a 2.4 million increase in 2012. In addition, according to the American Psychological Association, around 40-50% of marriages end up in divorce.

There are various reasons why couples resort to divorce. It can be due to frequent arguments between the couple, and the apparent lack of commitment to the relationship. Others simply marry at a very young age, and they are not prepared for the responsibilities that accompany married life. The couple also could have been disillusioned by their married life because of the high expectations that they set before the marriage, or the situations that they never expected to happen during the course of their marriage. A lack of preparation can also be a reason for divorce, since it results in the inability to meet the demands of married life. Other cases of divorce are caused by infidelity, while others are brought about by an abusive relationship.

Although couples who get divorced look forward to a happier life after the process, getting divorced can have setbacks on the physical, mental, social, and emotional health of both individuals. They can either lose or gain weight because of the strain brought about by the situation; they tend to rely more on alcohol and drugs, and they usually suffer from various health problems. In addition, they are more prone to psychological stress and depression, which results in lower self-esteem and poor psychological health.

Another part of the couple’s life that is greatly affected by the process of divorce is their social life. After a divorce, individuals are more likely to avoid engaging in social activities because of the overlap in their social circles,  such as in-laws, neighbors, and most of their friends. The social awkwardness brought about by the situation causes the individuals either to avoid their friends, or causes their friends to avoid them. This later leads to cutting social ties, and, eventually, to a loss of emotional support, which causes the divorced individual to become more reclusive and experience loneliness. However, there are still differences in the social engagements of divorced people, as some tend to be more outgoing after a divorce, and because of their new outlook they are once again living a single life.

Other than the couples involved, children are the ones who are greatly affected by the divorce process. Generally, the relationship of the parents even before the divorce is another crucial factor on the children’s psychological well-being, aside from the children’s situation after the divorce. Children with divorced parents are more prone to develop smoking habits and use illegal drugs. They also tend to perform poorly in school, with some children completely drop out of school after their parents divorce. These children sometimes have difficulty in relating to other people because they have lower self-esteem, and they become more anxious and depressed.

Divorce is not something that is done out of impulse. It is a situation that calls for several months of planning before even considering the case, simply because of the negative emotional and financial impacts that it will bring. To have a higher chance of proving the case means to be financially stable as well. One must have enough funds for all the costs of the process, which include lawyers’ fees, paperwork, and other various expenses. The individuals must both be prepared for the consequences of divorce in all the areas of their life. Therefore, they need to have plans for their future, especially for their children. Having stable finances even after the divorce process is ideal for both parties.

8 things before divorcing 2 -- resource pageKnowing the marital assets and liabilities will also be helpful before getting a divorce. These assets include pensions, tax returns, investments, and other things that the couple has gained throughout their marriage. Securing copies of these documents over the last three years will be necessary in the divorce process. Asking for the lawyer’s advice regarding this matter will be more beneficial than if the couple were to attempt this task on their own.

The process of divorce also requires one to be familiar with one’s legal rights and obligations. In addition, the decisions that the individuals will make will be aided by their knowledge on legal matters. Therefore, a lawyer will be necessary in making informed decisions that will have effects in the case, as well as in the individual’s life after a long run. Individuals going through a divorce should avoid any attempt at bribery or blackmail. Also, if one is to engage in his/her own investigation, it is important to remember to collect evidence that is not against the law. For instance, even if a taped phone conversation could be evidence against a partner, it would not be honored because of the legal considerations. Asking the lawyer what is and isn’t appropriate will be a proper step before conducting an investigation or presenting any evidence.

Because the lawyer will play a crucial role during the divorce process, researching for the most experienced lawyer is necessary before deciding to hire one. A good lawyer will give the proper advice in solving the case; after going through the details of the situation, the lawyer can also show the possibilities of the result of the case, and the legal actions that can be taken toward that result. He can also give insights regarding how the procedure will take place, and the things and responsibilities that are to be expected. He will also assist  in the preparation of all the legal documents that will support the case.

Because of this significant role that the lawyer plays in a divorce, hiring the best lawyer is vital. When researching for a lawyer, it is best to look for lawyers who have handled other divorce cases that will serve as their references for dealing with the situation at hand. Interested parties should visit if they are looking for a professional, experienced, divorce lawyer who can best handle their case during this sensitive time.

Divorce is a tedious process that has major impacts on different areas of the couple’s lives. Being prepared financially, physically, psychologically, and emotionally will be essential before going through the process. It is advisable to look for emotional support as well as legal help to be more prepared for the situation.


5 Things You Need to Ask Every Attorney Before Agreeing to Work With Them

 5 Things You Need to Ask Every Attorney Before Agreeing to Work With Them

court checks and balancesHiring a professional lawyer is crucial in any situation that requires legal help. The big chunk of the expenses that one has to pay in settling the case includes the attorney’s fee. Therefore, the lawyer must be knowledgeable and experienced, so that the fees do not go to waste. Research is also essential before deciding who is to be hired. Asking for references from family and friends can help when looking for the lawyer who will greatly contribute to the development and success of the case. Once there is a list of potential lawyers, there is usually an initial meeting with each prospect, so that one can finally decide whose services will be hired. This meeting will then serve as the opportunity to ask questions that will help one to decide whether he/she will be working with the lawyer or not.

There are several questions that can be asked in order to make it easier to determine how compatible the lawyer will be to your case, as well as with your desired setup. Taking into account your compatibility with the attorney is necessary, because aside from the expertise of the lawyer, his working style and attitude must make you feel comfortable and put you at ease. You will be working closely with the lawyer, and as you go through the process, you cannot avoid divulging sensitive and personal information that will be indispensable in handling the case. Because of this, you have to be comfortable with the attorney you will be working with; if you feel uneasy or are uncertain regarding a lawyer, there is a possibility that you will not be able to confide information that could be vital in the success of the case.

Recognizing the extent of the lawyer’s expertise is one of the basic questions that can be asked. This can be phrased by simply asking how long the attorney has been practicing his profession. The years that the lawyer will mention might help you gauge whether he is a veteran or a budding professional. However, the number of the years the lawyer has been involved in the field does not automatically translate to his expertise. There are cases when a fresh graduate has a better advantage over other attorneys who have been in the profession for quite some time. A fresh lawyer might have innovative ideas that could bring great success to your case, and ultimately to your situation.

A lawyer’s expertise can also be dependent on other factors, such as the previous cases handled by the lawyer, and how many of these cases were successful. To get more specific answers, zooming in on the particular cases that the lawyer has handled will help you analyze how close the practice area of the attorney is to your own legal problem. For instance, if you want to get legal help with your divorce, working with a lawyer whose area of practice has been devoted to divorce cases will be ideal, rather than a lawyer who has handled many adoption cases.

Knowing the number of cases similar to yours is an even more direct way of evaluating how well the attorney can help your situation. If it is possible to get acquainted with the track record of the lawyer, you will have a better grasp of the lawyer’s capabilities, which can be evident by the number of cases he has settled. By asking who the usual clients are, you will also have ideas on what field serves as the lawyer’s focus and expertise. If the typical clients include companies and businessmen, the lawyer will most likely not be the best choice for a divorce case. In addition, knowing the usual clients can give you a glimpse regarding the financial capabilities of the clients whom the lawyer is dealing with.

A skilled lawyer will most likely tell you about the possible outcome of the case if you ask about its success rate. Regardless of whether the anticipated result is seen as something positive or negative, a professional attorney does not resort to making false promises. If he tells you that you have a small chance of winning the case, do not conclude at once that the lawyer is not competent enough in handling the matter. Rather, analyze how clearly the attorney has laid out the situation, and how well he will be dealing with the circumstance, which will maximize your chance of winning. Working with an honest attorney is more preferable than working with someone who will make you look forward to a positive outcome, but will ultimately disappoint you in the end. In addition, an honest answer will prepare you for the next steps that you will be taking.

After discussing the possible outcomes, you can proceed to asking an attorney how you can increase the success rate of the case. Giving the most accurate information about your situation will have a significant contribution in this success, since all of those facts will serve as the only basis for the lawyer in determining the strategy that will work out for your situation. The answers to these questions will also establish whether you want to work with the lawyer or not.

shaking hands

Constant communication is another important factor during the decision process. Asking how you will contact each other will help in considering whether hiring a certain lawyer is the correct decision. As much as possible, the lawyer must be willing to give you constant updates, as well as provide a convenient option for meetings. If a lawyer has too many clients, and you think he cannot commit to your case and desired schedule, choose another attorney who can focus on your situation, and who can provide you with regular updates. Asking for the timetable of the case and the processing of the required documents will also assist you in dealing with the paper and leg work, and in fixing your own schedule. A good lawyer can estimate how long the process will take place, and how you can plan the processing of the needed documents.

Since you will be shelling out money for the services of the lawyer, it is also important to know how much the attorney charges for his service. Before agreeing to work with him, you must know whether you can manage to pay the fees requested by the lawyer. You must be aware of the payment options and the situations that require compensation. No matter how professional the attorney is, it will be futile if you cannot afford the amount he charges from you.

Hiring a lawyer is a vital part of any legal process. Therefore, you must know first whether you want to work with him or not by asking questions regarding his background and other significant details. If you want to ensure that you get a professional and experienced lawyer, you can visit


What Should You Do if You Get a DUI in Oklahoma City?

What Should You Do if You Get a DUI in Oklahoma City?

drunk driver walking line

Driving under the influence (DUI) means a driver is operating a vehicle after consuming alcohol, and has a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of at least 0.08, which is past the legal limit in most states. When you get arrested for a DUI Oklahoma City, the BAC test will be administered within two hours of your arrest. There’s a chance for your license to get revoked for 6 months to 3 years if you decline to take, o if you fail, the breathalyzer or blood test. However, if you fight and win your DUI arrest charges, with the aid of a DUI attorney, then your license won’t be revoked, and you won’t receive jail time. Moreover, you’ll be saved from the costly insurance rates associated with DUI charges.

It’s important to be aware of the actions that can prompt the police to stop you while driving, in order to avoid very stressful DUI Oklahoma City charges. These actions include speeding, following too close, doing wide or illegal turns, weaving, crossing the center line, nearly hitting another vehicle or object, braking on and off unreasonably, driving at a slow speed, and driving at night with no headlights. In the event that the police stop you, the most important things you need to keep in mind are to act and answer courteously to the arresting officer, to get out of your vehicle when asked, to show your driver’s license and insurance verification, and to take the breathalyzer test when offered. Do not refuse the field sobriety or breathalyzer test, as this action can be used against you in your criminal court case, and at your hearing at the Department of Public Safety. You cannot demand to choose which test to take.

Even if you fail your breathalyzer or sobriety test, you still have a good chance of winning your case when you hire an experienced DUI attorney Oklahoma City. You need a professional and trusted DUI attorney who knows his way around a courtroom, and the ins and outs of a DUI Oklahoma City criminal case. Finding a qualified DUI attorney Oklahoma City who specializes in your type of case is crucial, so you can be assured that your case is in the hands of someone who has expertly handled similar cases many times before. In a criminal case, where your license, freedom, and reputation are at stake, it’s imperative that you hire a skilled DUI attorney who can beat your arrest charges. Contact for nothing less than the best when it comes to a DUI attorney Oklahoma City, to protect you and defend your DUI Oklahoma City case.

When choosing a DUI attorney, ask questions that can help you decide which attorney is the best choice. You should find out how well the lawyer is at winning case, or at least a lesser charge for his clients. If possible, ask for sample cases and contact a few past clients. Furthermore, find out how long the DUI attorney has practiced criminal law for a DUI Oklahoma City. Another question to ask is the number of trials he has handled. Ideally, your chosen attorney should have handled more than 100 cases. Experienced lawyers are much better at negotiating reduced sentences and closing arguments among other things. Lastly, find out about his flat fee price, and if he will update you on your case on a monthly basis.

Getting a DUI Oklahoma City charge can result in a fine, a jail term, and even suspension of your license, so it’s crucial to hire an experienced DUI attorney Oklahoma City, who can examine the details of your arrest and advise you on the best legal options to beat your DUI charge. Be sure to take immediate action once you get a DUI charge to prevent serious consequences. If you are faced with a DUI charge, contact the Law Offices of Lawrence Goodwin, to help strengthen your case and provide the best DUI attorney Oklahoma City law has to offer.


Where is the Oklahoma City Divorce Court Located?

Where is the Oklahoma City Divorce Court Located?

court hammer divorce contract

Most couples in Oklahoma have enough problems simply starting off their Oklahoma City divorce process, let alone getting to a divorce court or finding a divorce attorney. Choosing a good, Oklahoma divorce attorney is an overwhelming task on its own, as a divorce attorney will help you make most of the important decisions concerning your marriage, through his or her expert advice. Since Oklahoma City divorce matters are complex and critical, you should not just choose any divorce attorney in the address book, and there are a few issues you have to keep in mind when making decisions regarding your Oklahoma City divorce.

First, your choice of divorce attorney should be an attorney experienced in family law, specifically in Oklahoma City divorce cases. In Oklahoma, there are board-certified lawyers in family law; board certification is the highest rating standard for professional lawyers. In addition to board certification, divorce attorneys are supposed to maintain an active practice and undergo regular scrutiny of their experiences, documents, and peer reviews. Furthermore, the Oklahoma divorce attorney is supposed to receive continuing education on family law each year. He or she may be a bit expensive to hire, but they will have good experience. You must also be able to communicate with your divorce attorney. The language of communication should be plain English, not legal jargon.

It’s also important to choose a divorce attorney that you are comfortable with, as you will be revealing highly personal information about your family and your marriage. Moreover, he or she should have good negotiation skills and be comfortable in an Oklahoma City divorce court. You may ask him or her to give references of divorce cases he or she has handled in the recent past and their outcome. Success in negotiating with other divorce attorneys in the past may be a good indication of his skills and competence. In addition, it is good to choose a divorce attorney within Oklahoma, as an Oklahoma City divorce attorney understands the style of judges that may hear your divorce trial. Thus, he may be in a position to adjust his strategy to fit what is expected; this is likely to hand you a favorable ruling. If you have a dire and complex financial situation, consider a divorce attorney that has solid knowledge in financial matters or one with links to financial experts. Divorces are as much of financial negotiations as they are about the dissolution of marriages.

You must also be comfortable with the style of your divorce attorney. If you need to keep matters calm, explain that to the lawyer; there are some lawyers who are able to keep their cool, while others are jugular and confrontational. However, do not confuse your lawyer with your religious adviser or a marriage consultant. He or she will add up the cost for the time he used to pick your non-essential calls.

If you do not have enough cash to pay a seasoned, Oklahoma divorce attorney, you may work with a relatively less experienced one. Seasoned lawyers charge higher retainers than less seasoned ones, but novices sometimes work a little harder to build their reputations, which is to your advantage. Also, most lawyers charge on an hourly basis, however, there are a few that would charge a flat rate. No one can effectively tell how a divorce trial will play, so it is not possible to estimate the total cost of the case. For a trusted, professional divorce attorney, the Law Offices of Lawrence Goodwin has effectively secured several favorable rulings in divorce cases in Oklahoma City for past clients.

If you are facing a divorce trial, avoid hiring inexperienced lawyers, as it could prove costly in the end. Contact for professional, affordable, experienced legal assistance regarding your divorce. For interested parties, the Oklahoma City Divorce Court is located at 320 Robert S. Kerr Avenue, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, 73102. The Family Domestic (Divorce) Department can be reached at (405) 713-1736, and is there to assist in the processing of all relevant papers in an Oklahoma City divorce.

Where Can I Find a Paternity Attorney in Oklahoma City?

Where Can I Find a Paternity Attorney in Oklahoma City?

pregnancy test positiveFinding a paternity attorney in Oklahoma City can be a bit nerve racking, especially when the event is not anticipated. Finding out if a child is yours is always a stressful occasion, and as such, it can be a difficult task to find the necessary resources with that amount of duress. Despite what you may think, finding a paternity attorney in Oklahoma City is quite easy.

Whether it is to determine custody of a child, or whether it is to determine the validity of a paternity allegation, it is essential to find the best in the craft to represent you in a court of law. As the proceedings can be a bit akin to divorce court proceedings, but without the legal implications that marriage brings, it is important to note that the children are directly impacted by the decision, as they are the primary point of contention. Having a good paternity attorney is essential in order for you to get the terms you need. The Law Offices of Lawrence Goodwin is a firm dedicated to providing you with the best representation in your time of need, giving you a quick response and the correct information, with the empathy you need in this trying time.

Goodwin believes that his clients have a right to information, and as such, is forthcoming with all the knowledge and expertise he has accrued in his field. By providing you with the resources you need to make a prompt and informed decision, he is a paternity attorney in Oklahoma City who knows that you will realize that his law offices provide the best services in the industry.

Becoming knowledgeable about what rights and options you have during the course of the paternity suit is essential; Goodwin and his team of experienced staff will provide you with the most in-depth base of references available. Goodwin strives to ensure that his clients understand the proceedings and their options, while providing them with the support they need in their most difficult time. If you don’t have the time at the start, the firm has put together resources for your consideration on their website, to help you build a frame of reference for your next steps.

It is understandable that people are apprehensive about seeking legal advice for a paternity attorney over the Internet, even in this day and age. Don’t just do a Google search for “attorney Oklahoma City,” or even “paternity attorney in Oklahoma City;” be sure to take the time to make an in-house appointment today, and talk to an experienced member of the team. Go to and schedule a personal meeting time.

As you go through one of the hardest times in your life, it is important to know that you are not alone. At the Law Offices of Lawrence Goodwin, your questions about the paternity proceedings will be addressed by an intelligent and empathetic individual, who understands the trouble and difficulty of the challenge you experience, and will properly represent you as your paternity attorney.

No matter the nature of your circumstances, know that you and your family are in safe and empathetic hands. Though your future decisions will be hard, make the first right decision today.

Who is the Best Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney?

Who is the Best Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney?

Oklahoma City When considering who provides the best divorce services in Oklahoma City, there are a number of factors that have to be calculated in order to determine the standard. Seeing that an Oklahoma divorce attorney aids not only in negotiating the terms of a marriage separation, but in the separation itself, it’s important to note which individuals are able to make the uncomfortable transition more manageable for their clients going through an Oklahoma City divorce.

There are many variables to consider in the process of choosing an Oklahoma divorce attorney, as well as a variety of factors that come into play regarding an Oklahoma City divorce in general. The amount of alimony that needs to be paid during the divorce is one significant item, as well as corresponding child support, if children are involved, and other similar fees. Of course, these aspects of the separation are unavoidable and are needed to progress the affair, but a solid Oklahoma City divorce attorney will be able to negotiate the terms  down to a more manageable state for their client. In addition, terms of ownership are also an essential litmus test to determine the best lawyer. A quality Oklahoma divorce attorney is one that can minimize the impact on a client’s assets, such as protecting their home and their car, amongst other means of ownership. In addition, an ideal Oklahoma City divorce attorney is one that takes the legal term of “agreed basis” to heart, and closes the case in as little as ten days.

There are very few law offices that can provide more comprehensive knowledge and execution of services than the law offices of Lawrence Goodwin. A good Oklahoma divorce attorney is one that provides the affected individual with enough information to make an informed decision, and an informed individual is one that will make the right choice,  which is a philosophy to which Lawrence Goodwin subscribes. With his wealth of information on proceedings, as well as insightful articles on his company’s home page, understanding the process of divorce becomes easier and more digestible for clients. Articles such as, “Top Ten Myths About Divorce” provide a quick and informative source  for an Oklahoma City divorce as an individual considers the process.

There are very few attorneys that can fit the bill of being the best Oklahoma City divorce attorney, and Lawrence Goodwin is one of them. With his extensive knowledge of the law, coupled with his motivation to provide his clients with both a strong informational and empathetic base for their legal situations, Goodwin is motivated to provide the best possible representation. With his highly trained staff, well versed in the emotional and challenging field of divorce advocacy, Goodwin is dedicated to providing an expedient and understanding series of services, to ensure that you and your loved ones are protected.

Divorce affects everyone, so there is nothing more important to Goodwin than assuring that you and yours will be taken care of during the proceedings. As it is essential to make the right choice, take the time and make the decision for yourself. Contact the Law Offices of Lawrence Goodwin today, through, and see why Goodwin is the best choice for an Oklahoma divorce attorney to guide you through your circumstances. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to read through the articles and set up an appointment. For the best divorce attorney in Oklahoma, look no further than Lawrence Goodwin.


What does it cost to get divorced?

What does it cost to get divorced?

man writing check

In today’s society, divorce is prevalent, as is the rise of the divorce attorney. For one reason or another, people simply do not take marriage as seriously as they did in past decades. It is hard to say whether people are marrying for the wrong reasons, or if they just do not see the seriousness in taking a vow before family, friends, and God, or whomever they recognize as a higher power in their life.

Different cultures also believe in different things when it comes to divorce. In some places, divorce is punishable by death; in other places, men are allowed to have multiple wives. However, in the United States, having multiple wives is against the law, so a man must divorce one wife before he can marry the next, or vice versa, and in this case, the husband and wife will each need a divorce attorney. Forty to fifty percent of couples married in the United States are divorced, which means nearly half of the nation has needed a divorce attorney. In different regions of the United States, the divorce rate also varies. In Northeastern states, there is a lower marriage and divorce rate, but in Southern states, there is a higher marriage and divorce rate.

There are also two different types of divorce: a no fault divorce, in which no one is blamed for the divorce and it is handled in a timely manner, and an at fault divorce, in which the opposing party has to prove that their spouse is guilty of adultery, desertion, or cruelty. The average length of marriages in the United States is eleven years, and ninety percent of divorces are settled out of court. In each case, a skilled divorce attorney is necessary to protect the client along with his or her assets. The state of Oklahoma has the highest divorce rate in the United States. Thirty-two percent of Oklahoman adults who have been married have also been divorced, so an Oklahoma divorce attorney stays very busy with all of the Oklahoma City divorce cases. In addition to the multiple effects divorce has, it can also be expensive.

Oklahoma City divorce rates range from $176 to $186 to file. This cost does not include the Oklahoma divorce attorney fee, cost for the process server, mailing cost, transcript fees, and other court fees; these fees all depend on various deciding factors. Oklahoma was the first to introduce the no fault divorce. This policy was implemented in 1953, which prompted other states to follow; California followed in 1969, and New York was the last to follow in 2010. In order to receive an Oklahoma City divorce, you must be a resident for more than six months.

The process of the divorce can take anywhere from ten to ninety days; there is also a stipulation which states that one cannot remarry for six months after the divorce, so it is easy to see how an Oklahoma divorce attorney would be needed. Even though divorce seems so popular and easy to do, people must still remember that vows have been taken and should be honored. With divorce being so common, a lot of people are deterred from being married. Many people like to take longer to make things official, while others jump the gun and marry quickly.

However it is done, the divorce rate remains high, and successful marriages are a thing of the past in most cases. Every marriage in Oklahoma does not end in divorce and divorce attorney fees and every marriage across the United States does not end that way either. However, if you or anyone you know is in the unfortunate situation of going through an Oklahoma City divorce, the fees, stress, and decisions do not have to be faced alone. Contact Oklahoma City divorce attorney Lawrence Goodwin, a veteran attorney regarding the laws of Oklahoma in divorce, family court issues, and the like, at

Common Law Marriage In Oklahoma

Common Law Marriage In Oklahoma

Today we’re going to talk a little bit about common law marriage. It’s an interesting topic in Oklahoma because Oklahoma is one of the very few states that still recognizes it’s existence. What does it take to be common law married? Well, some people believe that it’s simply living together for some period of time. That’s not what Oklahoma law says.

Typically the most important thing to look at when trying to discern whether or not a couple is common law married is what they believed. So we look to what the putative husband and wife believed. Did they believe that they were married? If in fact, they did believe they were married, then they probably were. What the common law marriage statutes and case law attempt to provide for, at least in my opinion, is for some sort of a semblance of the “family union”.

When people are living together and acting as husband and wife but have neglected for whatever reason, to go get the marriage license and have any sort of ceremonial wedding, then the state interjects a presumed marriage to protect the parties and any children. I think it’s more of a protection of the family unit in as much as the legislature and the judges and different jurisdictions have provided that when people act as husband and wife, procreate, have children, raise a family together, etc. we ought to protect them, the husband and wife in the event of untimely deaths to ensure certain rights are protected for either spouse and for the children of the marriage.

What we look for to determine the existence of a common law marriage is typically at least six months of cohabitation, however there are other signs of intent to be married. Did these people hold themselves out as husband and wife? In other words, when they introduced themselves to strangers, did they do so as husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend or did they make any determination or label at all?

It’s an interesting topic, there’s more to come on it and it will definitely affect people’s rights here in Oklahoma more and more as long as the Courts continue to recognize it. So, when we attempting to determine the existence of a common law marriage we look to cohabitation, tax returns, utility bills, bank accounts, or any other signs that they were doing business together as a couple. Most importantly, first and foremost, did this couple hold themselves out as husband and wife? Did they believe they were married?

Lawrence “Lorenzo” Goodwin – Oklahoma City Family Law Attorney

(405) 605-7771

1315 N. Shartel

Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Proposed new Oklahoma Divorce Law

Proposed new Oklahoma Divorce Law

There have been some recent articles written about proposed legislation in Oklahoma to make it more difficult to either get married or in the alternative make it more difficult to get divorced. I think both of these are coming dangerously close to infringing on people’s constitutional right to marry. The right to marry is one of the fundamental closely held values and principles of the United States constitution and I think it’s really bad business when legislators start dabbling in that area. No one likes the fact that Oklahoma has led the nation in the last couple of decades for the highest divorce rate in the country, however the answer cannot simply be, “let’s put more roadblocks in the way of people trying to get married” or in the alternative “let’s put more roadblocks in the way of people trying to get out of bad marriages”. I just don’t see that as a solution. I think that certain, very closely scrutinized, least restrictive means for some impediments to the easy road to marriage might be in order. In other words, maybe we should force people to undergo at least an hour or two hours of counseling prior to being given a marriage license. I know that certain counties give you a discount on your marriage license if you can prove that you’ve undergone the premarital counseling. I think these are all good ideas. However there are just so many reasons marriages fall apart; money, violence, adultery, you name it. Sometimes you just cannot be prepared. What impediments are we going to start putting on people’s lives to force them to stay in loveless marriages? Is it really any better for the family? Is it really any better for the children to see their parents not enjoying each other’s company anymore, or is it putting people in dangerous positions because they can’t afford to get out.

I think divorce is already difficult enough; both the financial and physical stress of a pending divorce can be quite ominous for most folks. I don’t think that making some arbitrary waiting period is going to necessarily have an effect on our divorce rate. If anything, what we will end up doing is running people out of the state of Oklahoma to go get divorced. That’s not good for the lawyers, the judges, or the judicial system in Oklahoma. It’s not good for our residents. If we look to current Oklahoma law, when people get divorced in Oklahoma they are prohibited from remarrying except to each other for a period of six months, but as we all know there have been countless numbers of people who’ve gotten divorced in Oklahoma and gone to other states within the six months to get remarried. That’s all that we would be doing to set ourselves up to run our problems (i.e. divorce rate) into neighboring states. They would be overwhelmed and flooded with people trying to set up quick residency there to file divorces. It simply won’t solve the problem. People need to take a little more time to get to know one another and figure out whether they want to get married or not. I think a better way to manage our divorce rate in Oklahoma, if we really want to solve the problem, is for us spend a little more money on education. I think the high rate of divorce in Oklahoma is at least somewhat related to the fact that we are consistently in the lower tier of education in the United States. Because of this, you see a high correlation between a high divorce rate in Oklahoma and our underfunded, underachieving educational system. We’ve got lots of folks getting married and maybe they’re getting married for the wrong reasons, but I do not think putting impediments to people’s right to marry and right to get unmarried is the way to address the growing problem of the high divorce rate in Oklahoma.

Lawrence “Lorenzo” Goodwin

Oklahoma City Divorce Attorney

1315 N. Shartel

Oklahoma City, OK 73103

Who gets the house if we’re not married?

Who gets the house if we’re not married?

In some circumstances, this is a very difficult question. Usually when we’re handling cases for people splitting up, we are generally working with divorces. With divorce, there are statutory laws and case laws in place that direct us and give us some sort of sense as to how property should be divided. We’ve previously written about what happens during child custody disputes for people who are unmarried; today we’re going to briefly speak about property disposition alone.

If, in fact, you and your partner have not been legally married or are not in a common law marriage, then the situation is one of straight contract law governing two adults who’ve entered into certain contractual arrangements to purchase real estate and other personal property. This can be a very difficult area in which to determine an outcome; the Court will be at a disadvantage because we don’t have the firm guidelines we would with a divorce. Simply put, you always want to protect yourself when you’re in a relationship and start mixing in business aspects with your personal relationships.

Recently, I received a phone call from a potential client who had been in a relationship with a man for approximately one year. She owns her own home, but the two of them decided to move into a separate home that they purchased together. My client put down a hefty sum of money as the down payment with the idea that they would be living together eventually as husband and wife. The home was purchased and the note and mortgage were placed in the gentleman’s name. However, thanks to my client being quick on her feet, she insisted that her name was put on the deed (which took some doing since these people were not legally married in Oklahoma). Just because you aren’t married does not mean you cannot have your name placed on the deed, and I most certainly recommend you do so to protect your interests. Any time you purchase property whether it be a car, home or other types of personal property, your name should be on the deed.

Even though her name was on the deed, we are still caught in a difficult position. Now that their relationship is ending, who is going to get the home? This is yet to be determined, but I think I’ll propose that one of the parties remain in the home and purchase the other party’s interest in the property. In the case at hand, since my client put down tens of thousands of dollars as the down payment, she should request that her ex-boyfriend repay her the money she spent as the down payment. Alternatively, since she payed the entire down payment, he could sign an instrument giving up any interest or claim he has in the home. Then she would be free to move forward and sell the home, or do whatever she needs to do to recoup her investment. Long story short, you must be sure to protect yourself anytime you’re entering into any kind of contractual relationship with a person that is not your spouse.