What Happens to Pro Se Divorce If We Have No Children & No Contact in Oklahoma?

By Heather Frances J.D.

Divorce can be very complicated, but Oklahoma spouses with no children and little contact with each other can simplify the process if they agree on the terms of the divorce. Spouses may file for a pro se divorce, meaning they are representing themselves, even if one spouse does not wish to cooperate or his whereabouts are unknown.

Divorce can be very complicated, but Oklahoma spouses with no children and little contact with each other can simplify the process if they agree on the terms of the divorce. Spouses may file for a pro se divorce, meaning they are representing themselves, even if one spouse does not wish to cooperate or his whereabouts are unknown.

Beginning a Divorce

If you have your spouse’s current address, you must file the appropriate paperwork with the court, including a divorce petition, to begin the pro se divorce process. Even if you file with the help of an online service, you are considered "pro se" if you do not have a lawyer. You must file these papers in the district court of your county, where either you or your spouse have lived for at least 30 days before filing. Then, you must serve the papers on your spouse. You can include the terms of your divorce, such as property and debt division, in your petition. Once you have the papers served on your spouse, he has 20 days to answer the petition, either agreeing with the terms you proposed or disputing some or all of them.

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Uncontested Divorce

If your spouse agrees to all the terms of your petition, he can file his answer without counterclaiming, or asking for a change to the terms. If he does this, he does not have to appear at the court hearing to finalize the divorce, but you must appear as the filing spouse. When couples without minor children file an uncontested divorce, the divorce can be finalized in as few as 10 days from the date the petition was filed. For couples with minor children, the waiting period is 90 days from the date of filing, unless both spouses agree to waive the 90-day waiting period and court approves.

Default Divorce

If you properly serve your spouse with the court paperwork, your spouse may choose not to answer the petition within his 20-day time limit. If he does not answer, the court presumes he does not object to the petition and you can file for a default divorce to receive the relief you requested in your petition. This process takes longer since the court cannot rely on your spouse’s answer to indicate his agreement and he has not signed a waiver of the normal 90-day waiting period.

Service by Publication

If you don’t know your spouse’s location, you may serve your spouse with the divorce papers by publication rather than in person. You must use due diligence to serve your spouse by other means before service by publication is authorized, so you must make a reasonable effort to locate your spouse and have him served personally. To serve your spouse by publication, you must publish notice of the divorce action, signed by the court clerk, in an authorized newspaper for three consecutive weeks. Once the publication requirement has been met, you can proceed with your divorce.

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References

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How to Serve the Petition for Divorce in Georgia

Service in a divorce rarely comes with a smile. The term refers to the process of getting a copy of your petition for divorce into the hands of your spouse. The Constitution guarantees every person the right to participate in a court proceeding against him and a divorce action is no exception. As the petitioner in a divorce action in Georgia, you are responsible both for making sure your spouse is properly presented with a copy of the initial paperwork and also for proving to the court that he received it. Georgia statutes provide several ways to accomplish these legal requirements.

How to Serve Divorce Papers

In a divorce filing, papers filed with the court must be properly served on the other spouse. Examples of these papers include the Summons and Complaint and Notice of Appearance -- the typical documents filed in the beginning of a divorce action. While some specific rules for service may differ from state to state, you will typically have to select from one of several acceptable ways to serve divorce papers on your spouse.

Divorce if Whereabouts Are Unknown in Missouri

Many spouses who want to file for divorce do not know where to find their estranged spouses. In these cases, locating a spouse to serve divorce papers becomes more difficult with time. If you wait too long to file for divorce, it may be impossible to locate your missing spouse. For the court to grant a dissolution of marriage, you must be able to serve your spouse the divorce papers or, at minimum, prove to the court that you made diligent efforts to locate him. After you have exhausted all possibilities to locate your spouse for a divorce in Missouri, you may request "Service by Publication," commonly referred to as a "Divorce by Publication."

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