Although they carry the stigma of only being used by celebrity couples, prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common among ordinary couples. One factor that has possibly influenced the increasing popularity of prenuptial agreements could be the higher rate of divorce in some states today. In fact, Oklahoma has extraordinarily high divorce rates among both women and men, compared to the rest of the United States, with 32% of Oklahomans who have ever been married getting a divorce. If you think that signing an Oklahoma prenuptial agreement prior to getting married is a good idea, contact our family law attorneys at Atkins & Markoff for experienced legal guidance. With the help of our knowledgeable lawyers, you can prepare a valid prenuptial agreement that can help prevent a devastating legal battle down the road.
DIVORCE AND DIVISION OF PROPERTY
A prenuptial agreement in Oklahoma is a document prepared by a couple before they are married that clearly dictates what will happen to each person’s assets, or property, in the event of a divorce. In Oklahoma, judicial rulings have set the legal precedent for the use of prenuptial agreements, and Section 43-121 of Oklahoma’s revised statutes allows the court to “effect a fair and just division” of property that Oklahoma couples acquire during marriage. In the event that children are involved, the OK court “may set apart a portion of the separate estate of a spouse to the other spouse for the support of the children of the marriage where custody resides with that spouse.”
SEPARATE VS. MARITAL PROPERTY
Oklahoma law recognizes the difference between separate property – the property each spouse brings into a marriage – and jointly-acquired property, which is property the couple acquires together during marriage. With regards to the maintenance of separate property after marriage exclusive of any prenuptial agreement, an Oklahoma statute directs a court granting a divorce to “enter its decree confirming in each spouse the property owned by him or her before the marriage.” According to this statute, each individual maintains his or her right to separate property acquired before the marriage, even without a prenuptial agreement. The statute indicates that the division of jointly-acquired property, however, is to be determined by a valid prenuptial agreement.
CONTACT OUR FAMILY LAW ATTORNEYS TODAY
Although differentiating between separate and jointly-acquired property may seem simple, many divorce cases in Oklahoma have been complicated by disputes between parties over whether certain property should be considered separate or marital. For this reason and others, it is often beneficial to have a prenuptial agreement before entering into a marriage in Oklahoma, in order to set forth clear indications of what property should be considered separate and what should be considered marital property. If you are considering preparing a prenuptial agreement in Oklahoma, contact our family law attorneys at Atkins & Markoff for legal help. Our lawyers have extensive experience helping couples navigate the sometimes complicated process of signing a prenuptial agreement, and can help reduce the risk of a disagreement in the event of a divorce.