Oklahoma Is a No-Fault State
Video Transcribed: My name is Jason Lile, and I am a Fathers Rights lawyer in Tulsa, Okla. I wanted to answer a question today. That represents a common misconception in the public about divorce.
And here’s what it is. Can I get custody of my children even if the divorce is my fault? Well, as soon as a potential client or a client says something about fault, I immediately need to inform them that Oklahoma is a no-fault state. What does that mean?
It means that the person asking for a divorce is entitled to divorce for no reason other than not wanting to be married. We will often plead or see pled incompatibility and irreconcilable differences. And unlike the older days, when people would plead infidelity, or they plead mental cruelty or any other bases that were statutory in any given state, we don’t do that anymore.
I often have clients upset because their spouses were cheating on them or they’ve been mentally cruel to them. And most of the judges I deal with don’t want to deal with that because they’re going to grant the divorce on incompatibility anyway. Very rarely do those other older ideas come up of unfaithfulness or mental cruelty.
Consequently, even if you were accused of being unfaithful, let’s just take that infidelity one. It shouldn’t be relevant to whether or not you get your children. Objectively speaking, it is irrelevant. Subjectively, it might be relevant if somehow that directly affects your children and continues to affect them.
You shouldn’t have your girlfriend or boyfriend in your home, or having sexual relationships with that person while your children are in your home is a direct thing. Other than that, it’s a no-fault state that shouldn’t affect your ability or your rights with your children.
Let’s talk about mental cruelty. Now, mental cruelty and abuse are different because if the family court finds domestic abuse, then there’s a presumption that the person who is the abuser should not have custody of the children. It’s a rebuttable presumption, but it is a presumption.
So really, when we’re dealing with whether or not the divorce was your fault and how it should affect your custody rights, you need an experienced lawyer to be able to counsel you on what your situation implies, what its implications are for your custody case, and to be able to counsel and guide you through that and represent you well in court in that regard.