Family law involves legal issues centered on domestic relationships and encompasses a variety of proceedings such as:
- Adoption – Adoption is the legal process for becoming a non-biological parent. The “Oklahoma Adoption Code” is set forth in Title 10, Chapter 75 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
- Marriage and divorce – Marriage is the legally recognized union of partners in a relationship, and divorce is the legal dissolution of that union. Divorce proceedings may result in litigation over property division, child custody, child support, alimony, and the enforceability of prenuptial agreements. Often, modifications to child custody and support are necessary following entry of a divorce decree. Oklahoma statutory law regarding marriage and divorce is generally found in Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
- Guardianships – Guardianship proceedings establish one’s legal right and duty to care for the health, welfare, and/or property of another person. Oklahoma guardianship statutes are set forth in Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
- Paternity – Paternity cases confirm the identity of a child’s biological father, often through DNA testing. Generally, mothers file paternity cases to obtain child support from an absent father; however, biological fathers also file for paternity to establish a relationship and custody rights with their child. Oklahoma paternity statutes are generally found in Title 10, Chapter 77 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
- Emancipation – Emancipation is a court process through which the rights of majority are conferred on a minor, i.e. the minor assumes responsibility for his or her own welfare, and is no longer under the authority or care of his or her parents. Oklahoma emancipation procedures are generally found in Title 10, Chapter 4 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
While the general nature of family law proceedings is similar across the United States, each state has its own nuances in the area of family law. For example, Oklahoma is one of the few states that recognize common law marriage, which is marriage that arises from the intent and conduct of parties with the capacity to be married, despite the lack of a formal marriage ceremony. Oklahoma allows for divorce on the grounds of incompatibility, which is often referred to as a ‘no fault’ divorce. Additionally, upon dissolution of the marriage, Oklahoma courts seek to determine an equitable division of marital property, and child custody determinations are to be made in the best interests of the child. Family law issues may sometimes be resolved by agreement of the parties. However, issues are often complex and extremely a factually dependent, and you may need the advice of an attorney licensed in your state.
At Logan & Lowry, LLP we assist clients with the full range of family law issues. Contact us to learn more.