Oklahoma Alimony Laws and Guidelines: All About Spousal Support in “OK”

The alimony laws governing spousal support in Oklahoma is different from what is obtainable in other states. Read further to grasp the peculiarity of the OK alimony law.

Also referred to as “spousal support” or “spousal maintenance” in Sooner State, alimony is the series of payments made by one spouse (the payor spouse) to another (the supported or payee spouse) after the divorce.

Before the alimony payments commence, there has to be a written order or agreement which requires the payor to support the payee with a stipulated amount of money.

This agreement eliminates any disputes in the future about why the payment was made or when it’s not made.

All 50 states in America are alimony states, meaning states that have enacted laws permitting a spouse who cannot work full time or with a lower income to request payments from the other spouse to support themselves after a divorce.

Type of Alimony Laws Practiced in OK

types of alimony

Types of alimony in Oklahoma

In terms of alimony legislation, Oklahoma is unique in that the statute does not lay out the legal criteria in as much detail as some other states’ laws do. Much of the detail is left to common law, which refers to case law as expressed and resolved by judges in court judgments.

The court can order one spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse in Oklahoma divorce, separation, and annulment cases. “The basic aim of alimony is to pay for the support and maintenance of the divorced party,” according to the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

Temporary Spousal Support in Oklahoma

Oklahoma judges can grant interim alimony, short-term (rehabilitative) alimony, or permanent alimony. A divorce can take months or even years to complete, and it’s normal for a financially dependent spouse to require assistance with basic living expenses and requirements while the process is underway.

If a judge orders interim alimony, it will terminate when the divorce is finalized. (Oklahoma Statute Announcement tit. 43-110 (B))

Rehabilitative Spousal Support in OK

Both spouses have the capacity to become self-sufficient in most divorces, but for others, it takes more time (and money) to get through it. Rehabilitative support is a way for the court to help a financially dependent spouse become financially independent by giving them time to learn new skills or get the education they need to find suitable career.

In marriages where one spouse leaves the workforce for a length of time to raise a family or support the other’s career, rehabilitative alimony is commonplace. Short-term alimony usually has an expiration date, but if you are the supported spouse and need additional time to become self-sufficient, you can ask the court to extend it thereafter.

Permanent Spousal Support in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, permanent alimony, sometimes known as long-term alimony, is less common today than in previous decades, particularly in short-term marriages. Permanent alimony is frequently awarded to long-term marriages where one spouse is unable to become self-supporting due to advanced age, physical or mental incapacity, or a long absence from the labor market.

Although it’s uncommon for judges in OK to award indefinite maintenance, if the court doesn’t set an end date, alimony will continue until one of the parties asks a change or termination.

If the receiver dies or remarries, rehabilitative and permanent alimony ends (unless, within 90 days of the marriage, the recipient can demonstrate an on-going need for support.) (Oklahoma Statute Announcement tit. 43-134 (B).)

Who Pays Alimony in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma alimony law, the spouse that makes most of the money will share that income with the other spouse. The idea behind who pays for alimony is to considerably level up the living standard of the dependent spouse to what it was while the marriage was on.

Regarding the sex that pays, alimony in Sooner State is gender-neutral, meaning either spouse can request support from the other. As long as the alimony can be provided to the requesting spouse, then it will most likely be granted.

So a husband can receive alimony from a wife in Oklahoma if the above conditions are met.

Periodic payments, usually monthly or quarterly, are the most prevalent, and they are made by the paying spouse by wage garnishment, direct deposit, or checks to the receiver.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in OK?

How Long To Pay Alimony

The judge will decide how long the alimony payment should last in Oklahoma

The duration to pay alimony in Oklahoma can differ depending on the individual judge and circumstances. However, you should expect to pay spousal support for a duration of 80-70% of the length of the marriage lasted. So assuming you were married for 10 years, the spousal support duration will most likely be between 6 to 7 years.

As provided by the alimony laws of OK, rehabilitative and permanent support stops if either spouse dies or the supported spouse remarries.

How to Collect Spousal Support Arrears in Oklahoma

When it comes to collecting spousal support in Oklahoma, you have a few choices if your ex-spouse has failed to make alimony payments as ordered by the court. Debts for spousal support are frequently given priority among debtors under US law.

Factors with Influence Alimony Payment in Oklahoma

The average amount payable as spousal support in Oklahoma after divorce is determined by various factors. But the major factor you have to understand is “the standard of living of the marriage.”

To determine the final amounts for rehabilitative and permanent support in OK, the courts in OK take into consideration the income of the spouses, plus other factors like:

  • earning capacity of each spouse.
  • the ability of the paying spouse to pay, considering assets, the standard of living, earning capacity, as well as earned and unearned income.
  • the extent of contribution the supported spouse gave to the other’s educational pursuit or professional license during the marriage
  • how long the marriage lasted
  • the needs of each spouse
  • the assets and debts of each spouse including separate property
  • each party’s tax consequences
  • the ability of the supported spouse to gain employment without interfering with their children’s care
  • each spouse’s health and age
  • each party’s balance of hardships
  • whether there is a documented history of domestic violence against the children or either party
  • will the dependent spouse be self-supporting within a reasonable period
  • any criminal conviction of an abusive spouse
  • any other factors which the court wishes to consider

This is the main measure the court uses to determine the amount to be paid in Sooner State. The principle behind the standard of living of the marriage is that after the marriage breakup, both spouses should continue living within the same standard they lived while the marriage lasted.

How Alimony is Calculated in OK

How Alimony is Calculated

How Alimony is Calculated in Oklahoma

The amount to be paid as spousal support in Oklahoma is calculated after considering the above-stated factors. Whichever option is adopted it is reflected in the Alimony Calculator

But to be explicit about how to calculate spousal support in OK, you may need to consult your spousal support attorney.

>>> Oklahoma Spousal Support Calculator

Importance of Using a Skilled Oklahoma Spousal Support Attorney

If you’re getting a divorce in Oklahoma and need to negotiate or re-negotiate spousal support, you’ve definitely got a lot of questions and want to seek competent legal guidance. Though state Supreme Courts have supported lifetime spousal support, your circumstances may or may not fulfill the requirements. OK courts may judge your case differently based on the merits of you and your previous spouse. There are so many variables to consider.

If you want to get spousal support for the rest of your life or if you want to fight against it in Oklahoma, an expert divorce lawyer can help. Depending on the objective and the desire of the adversary attorney to bargain in good faith, you’ll need attorneys that are both empathetic and strong.

For the convenience of our members, we have an up-to-date directory of OK divorce and spousal support attorneys who can help with a variety of issues. For legal advice and representation on spousal support that is powerful and well-informed.

Click Here to Get our Free Oklahoma Alimony recommendation.

FAQ About Oklahoma Alimony Laws

Here are Frequently Asked Questions about spousal support laws in OK:

Can a Husband get Alimony in OK?

Yes. In Oklahoma, alimony payment is gender-neutral, meaning the sex that pays or receives is not the main determinant, but other factors as stated above. For details click here.

Who Qualifies for Alimony in Oklahoma?

Just as either spouse can pay or receive, the party that qualifies to receive spousal support is the dependent party while the marriage lasted. This means that in OK, the spouse that had lesser or no income when the marriage was on is also the one qualified to receive alimony. Click here for details

How Long do you have to be Married to get Alimony in OK?

To understand how long alimony lasts in Oklahoma, you have to take into consideration how long the marriage lasted.

However, bear in mind that there is no limit to the duration you can pay or receive alimony for marriages that lasted 10-20 years or more. Any marriage that lasted below 20 years will not pay nor receive alimony that exceeds 50% of the duration of the marriage.

Is Alimony Tax Deductible in Oklahoma?

Following the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which altered the link between alimony and taxes dramatically in Oklahoma and all over the US, alimony payments are no longer tax deductible for the payer and are no longer recognized as income for the recipient spouse as of January 1, 2019.

Is Alimony Mandatory in Sooner State?

Alimony is mandatory in Oklahoma as long as one of the spouses earns or owns assets that can be relied upon to support the other spouse after the marriage breaks down.

Can Alimony be increased in Oklahoma?

Alimony amount or duration can be increased or decreased due to changes in the financial circumstances of the parties in different ways, including:

  • an increase or decrease in the income of the alimony recipient
  • if it’s determined that the original alimony awarded is inadequate
  •  loss to the alimony recipient’s financial assets
  • an increase in the justified expenses of the alimony recipient
  • when the financial condition of the receiving spouse fails to improve as originally expected

Can you go to Jail for Not Paying Spousal Support in OK?

Technically, you will not be jailed for not paying alimony in Oklahoma. While there are varying consequences for not paying alimony, you can still end up in jail as a result. Here is how.

If it’s an Oklahoma court-ordered spousal support that you refuse to pay, it means you are in violation of a court order meaning you can be prosecuted for being in contempt of court if contempt proceedings are brought up against you. This could attract a jail term in OK}.

How to Modify Spousal Support in OK?

How to Avoid spousal support

How to Avoid spousal support in Oklahoma

When necessary, Oklahoma law allows for a spousal support modification. When it comes to alimony, courts in OK usually try to do their best to create judgments that are fair and effective in the long run. Nevertheless, conditions change over time, and these changes may compel a revision or modification of the initial order.

When filing for a spousal support modification in Oklahoma, keep in mind that the courts will only entertain the motion if there has been a significant and long-term change in circumstances. A brief problem is unlikely to be significant enough to warrant a revision in the initial alimony ruling. Likewise, dissatisfaction with the support order is not a valid reason for a revision in OK.

The following are some of the most common reasons for requesting an alimony modification in Oklahoma:

  • Retirement
  • Remarriage
  • Relocation
  • Changes in income or employment
  • Birth of a new child
  • Health changes, including disability
  • A new dependent

How to Avoid or End Spousal Support in OK?

In Sooner State, the spouse paying the alimony can successfully avoid or stop the alimony payment if he/she is able to prove any or all of the following points:

  • that the dependent spouse is guilty of infidelity
  • the spouse proves that he has no source of income
  • the spouse remarries and has to take care of the new spouse however, he/she will continue paying the child support for children if any
  • if the spouse is disabled and unable to earn a living

Alimony Laws in all 50 States

A Alabama  |  AlaskaArizonaArkansas
C CaliforniaColoradoConnecticut
D-H DelawareFloridaGeorgiaHawaii
I IdahoIllinoisIndianaIowa
K-L KansasKentuckyLouisiana
M MaineMarylandMassachusettsMichiganMinnesotaMississippiMissouriMontana
NebraskaNevadaNew HampshireNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkNorth CarolinaNorth Dakota
P-S  PennsylvaniaRhode IslandSouth CarolinaSouth Dakota
T-U  TennesseeTexasUtah
V-W  VermontVirginiaWashingtonWest VirginiaWisconsinWyoming

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.