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How divorce laws vary from state to state

A person who is going through a divorce in Oklahoma will have a different experience than a person going through a divorce in, say, Massachusetts or California. That's because state governments, not the federal government, regulate divorce laws. The length a divorce takes to finalize, how property will be divided and what legal documents spouses will be required to present all depend on what state a divorce takes place in.

Before a divorce can even get started, spouses will have to meet the specific residency requirements that apply in the state where they want to file. Some states have minimal residency requirements while other states require people to live in the state for at least a year before they are considered a legal resident. If spouses want a no-fault divorce, they could be subject to a waiting period after the date of separation, the definition of which also varies from state to state.

Oklahoma courts, like those in most states, divide marital property equitably in a divorce. However, what some judges considered to be "fair" in equitable distribution states may differ. Divorce laws in some states distinguish between marital and separate property while other states view nearly all assets that are owned by both spouses as marital property.

Couples who have been together for a long time and who are considering ending their marriage often find the property division stage to be particularly difficult as a result of the amount and nature of assets that they have accumulated while they were together. In order to avoid having the decision being made by a judge, they may want to have the help of their respective attorneys in negotiating a settlement.

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