One of the most common questions that clients who are getting divorced ask their lawyer is “how much is this going to cost?” The answer is, of course, it depends. If a divorce is uncontested and there is no marital property, the parties may be able to accomplish it for hundreds of dollars. But if there are children, property, and alimony issues, divorce can be more costly. Since no two divorces are exactly alike, lawyers cannot give you a hard estimate of how much a contested divorce may cost. However, Martindale Nolo Research published a survey of their readers who had recently gone through a divorce and had researched hiring a lawyer. Their 2015 report estimated the cost of divorce when the couple has children, confirming that the costs rise when minor children are involved. Here’s why.
Divorce With Children in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma law, you must be a resident of the state for more than six months and a resident of your current county for more than 30 days before you can file for divorce. When there is a contested divorce - the spouses do not agree on how to divide the property or about custody and other matters - there will be a temporary order which decides important issues until the case is resolved through settlement or trial. The orders involve who can live in the marital property, who can use the property, custody of children, visitation, child support, and spousal support.
According to the survey, Oklahoma attorney’s fees are more reasonable than what lawyers charge in other states. In addition to the lawyer’s hourly rate, you will pay a filing fee, court costs, and the cost of copying and sharing documents. Divorces with children are costlier in every state, including Oklahoma.
So what makes it more expensive to divorce with minor children? The answer lies in whether there are issues related to the children’s health, safety and welfare, and how much you and your spouse can agree upon. If you need to hire expert witnesses or consultants, like psychologists or education specialists, the costs rise. In some cases, the parties will also pay for alternative dispute resolution, like mediation.
Although it costs more to hire expert witnesses, and no one is ever thrilled to pay a mediator, the top priority of any parent is making sure their children are safe and provided for. That’s why most people, when notified of the costs, are willing to spend more money to ensure that the divorce and custody issues are settled in the best interests of the child. A mediator can be the best way to help both parties resolve the case rather than letting it linger while time passes and costs rise. Experts can provide an objective perspective on issues related to your children and their living situation. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is also true in legal proceedings.
What to Look for in Oklahoma Divorce and Child Custody Lawyers
When hiring a lawyer for your divorce, you want a law firm that views itself as a team dedicated to fighting for your family. A highly skilled divorce lawyer knows the law, understands negotiating tactics, and can sense the turning points in litigation. You should also look for lawyers who will be candid with you about your prospects and keep you informed as the divorce progresses. This is the best way to ensure that costs are in line with their estimates.
Will You Have to Pay Child Support in Oklahoma?
If you are not the custodial parent, then yes, you will pay child support in Oklahoma. Support is calculated by combining the gross incomes of each parent. The parties’ combined gross income is then compared to a statutory chart, which will calculate the total amount of child support. The non-custodial parent then pays his or her percentage of that total as determined from the percentage of the combined incomes.
Although child support is determined based on statutory calculations, there are more than ten statutes in Oklahoma law that make up these rules. Child support is mandatory. Certain costs of having children, like health insurance premiums, child care and other conditions, are included in the statutes. Your lawyer will be able to help you navigate this complex area.
Call Experienced Oklahoma Divorce Lawyers About Your Child Custody Case
Hiring experienced Oklahoma divorce lawyers who will fight for your family pays off. To speak with one of our highly skilled divorce lawyers contact us or call 405-542-2529 (542-CLAW) and one of our attorneys will speak with you about the circumstances of your case. Read more about our team, or continue reading and researching our free legal information library, or enter live chat.