Man With His Hand in a Fist in Front of a Scared WomanDomestic abuse happens in homes all across the country. Sadly, not only isn't Oklahoma an exception, but it frequently ranks among the top five states in the nation for women killed by men in domestic violence situations. In fact, roughly one-third of women murdered in the Sooner State are killed by their husbands.

Standing up, saying, “no more,” and divorcing an abusive spouse can be empowering, but it can also be extremely dangerous. If you've decided to divorce a spouse with a history of domestic violence, don't go it alone. A caring and courageous Oklahoma divorce attorney can provide the legal guidance and support you need to protect yourself, your children, and your future.

Insightful Representation for Divorces Involving Domestic Violence

Looking for divorce counsel you can count on? Look no further. Based in Jenks/South Tulsa, Diana Cupps—better known as Diana the Lawyer—helps domestic abuse survivors throughout Oklahoma break free of abusive spouses and gain the respect and the divorce settlements they deserve.

Diana isn't your typical attorney. Not coming from an affluent family, she joined the Army to pay for her education and spent nearly a decade working as an emergency room nurse before going through a complicated divorce inspired her to become a lawyer to make a difference. Her dedication and compassion for people who've been through intimate partner violence comes from the heart. Diana understands what domestic abuse survivors go through because she's lived it herself. Now, she helps others reclaim their power and fight back at the negotiating table and in the courtroom. Here's what you need to know about Oklahoma divorce when the marriage involved abuse.

How Oklahoma Defines Domestic Abuse

Under Oklahoma law, domestic abuse can be any act of physical harm or the threat of imminent physical harm. Additionally, the term—and the statute—don't just cover violence between spouses. Children, including stepchildren, adopted children, foster children, and other household members, can also suffer violence at the hands of an abusive adult.

Common Types of Intimate Partner Violence

Oklahoma limits its definition of domestic abuse to “any act of physical harm or the threat of imminent physical harm.” However, physical violence is far from the only kind of abuse you may encounter in a marriage. Here's a brief overview of common types of intimate partner violence:

  • Physical abuse. May include hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, burning, strangulation, or refusing medical care or controlling medications.
  • Sexual abuse. Examples include being forced to have sex with other people or engage in sexual activity when you aren't fully conscious (or are too scared to refuse), being coerced into having sex without protection or having your birth control sabotaged.
  • Emotional abuse. Can include being insulted, called names, blamed for everything, intimidated, shamed, humiliated, or isolated. Other emotionally abusive behaviors include extreme jealousy and controlling what you do and where you go.
  • Financial abuse. Examples include a spouse who has exclusive power and control over finances, inflicts injuries to prevent the other spouse from going to work, harasses their spouse at their place of work, or purposely damages their partner's credit score.
  • Technological abuse. May include hacking into your email and personal accounts, monitoring your interactions on social media, demanding to know your account passwords, and using your phone to track your location, calls, and other activity.
  • Abuse by immigration status. Examples include destroying your immigration papers, threatening to have you (or your loved ones) deported, and threatening the safety of family members in your home country.

Though not all of the above types of abuse are recognized as domestic violence by Oklahoma law, they may indicate an unhealthy or unsafe marriage, and the need to reach out for help.

Potential Criminal Consequences

In Oklahoma, domestic abuse is an assault and battery crime. If your spouse is convicted of a domestic violence-related offense, they could face a fine of up to $5,000 and up to one year in jail for a first offense or an up to $5,000 fine and up to four years in prison for a second or subsequent offense. Aggravating factors—such as abuse committed in front of a child or against a pregnant woman—can significantly increase potential criminal penalties. Additionally, a felony domestic abuse conviction could prevent your spouse from being able to legally own or possess a firearm.

Domestic Violence and Your Divorce

In addition to the possibility of criminal charges, an abusive spouse can face a number of other consequences during the divorce process, many of them related to child custody and visitation. Oklahoma requires these decisions to be made in “the best interests of the physical, mental, and moral welfare of the child” and there is a legal presumption that awarding custody or visitation to a parent engaging in domestic abuse, stalking, or harassing behavior doesn't meet that criteria. When custody is contested, the judge will consider whether there's a history of domestic violence and, if necessary, restrict parental or visitation rights accordingly. Diana the Lawyer can also help you petition the court for these restrictions and, if needed, a protective order.

Ending an Abusive Marriage? Our Skilled South Tulsa Divorce Attorney Can Help 

Ending a marriage is rarely, if ever, easy, but allegations of domestic abuse can make an already unfriendly divorce even more contentious. Fortunately, with Diana Cupps by your side, you have nothing to fear. Combat-trained and trial-ready, Diana has faced foes far fiercer than your spouse and emerged unscathed. Now, she's ready to fight for you.

Ready to find out what Diana the Lawyer can do for you? Complete the contact form or call our Jenks law office at 918-605-4826 to schedule an appointment for a discrete divorce consultation to discuss your situation, rights, and options. In the meantime, browse our online legal library, blog, or FAQs for additional information on the Oklahoma divorce process and our services.