One of the first questions people ask during a consultation is how long the divorce process will take, start to finish. The answer is a very lawyerly “it depends.” The timeline depends on whether or not there are minor children involved, and also on whether the parties are able to work together to reach an amicable dissolution and property distribution.
Without Minor Children
For a divorce that does not involve minor children, the minimum time required to complete the judicial process is 10 days, from the filing of the petition to the entry of the decree of dissolution. In order to complete a divorce within 10 days, the parties will have to work together. Although it is unfortunately an uncommon result, those people who are able to work together to dissolve the marriage can save themselves much expense, both financial and emotional. It’s important to remember, however, that under Oklahoma law, a person may not remarry in Oklahoma, or reside as part of a married couple in Oklahoma, for a period of six months following the entry of the final decree. And this is no small thing – getting remarried to someone other than the former spouse within the six-month waiting period is bigamy, a felony in Oklahoma punishable by substantial prison time.
With Minor Children
When a divorce involves minor children, the general rule is that there is a 90-day waiting period from the filing of the petition until the entry of the final decree. However, this 90-day period can be waived upon the agreement of both parties and with good cause, especially if the court is shown evidence that reconciliation is unlikely. There are other exceptions to the 90-day waiting period, including petitions involving abandonment, extreme cruelty, habitual drunkeness, and imprisonment for a felony, among other, less common circumstances. See the Oklahoma code for a complete list of the exceptions.
Also, the Tulsa County District Court has prepared a family court case timeline that is available online.