If you are going through a divorce in Okmulgee and have children, you may have many questions about child custody. Whether you are considering divorce or are in the process of ending your marriage, it is important to understand the laws about child custody as they pertain to your situation.
Once a couple with children files for divorce in Okmulgee, the court will have to decide issues of custody, support and visitation. Often, when parents can agree on custody, the court will order the custody agreed to by the parents, as long as it is in the best interests of the child. The court makes initial orders that may be modified as needed over time for as long as the children remain minors. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 112
Different Types of Custody
Custody can be both physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to the question of where the child resides. Or, put another way, with whom does the child live? Physical custody can be joint, meaning the children share time living with both parents equally. Or it can be sole, meaning that the children live with one parent (custodial parent) and the other parent (non-custodial parent) retains visitation rights.
Legal custody refers to the question of who makes major decisions regarding the children. This, too, can be either joint or sole.
Often one or both parents request joint custody. In that case, the parents must submit a parenting plan to the court that will cover:
- Where the children will live, and when;
- The handling of medical and dental insurance and care;
- The handling of child support;
- Visitation schedule; and
- Where the children will go to school.
The court reviews the plan and makes decisions based upon what it deems to be in the best interests of the child.
What Factors are Involved in Determining the Best Interests of the Child
Divorce is one of the most traumatic events that a child lives through. Often, parents are so embroiled in their own issues that it is hard to understand how a child reacts to an impending divorce. Thus, the court tries to minimize the negative impacts of the divorce upon the children, usually assuring them that they will continue to have frequent contact with both parents after the divorce.
The court also encourages parents to share the rights and responsibilities of child rearing. Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 112
This tends to make children feel more secure during a time of great upheaval.
The court looks at the best interests of the child in making its custody determination. When it is in the best interests of the child, custody is to be awarded in a way which assures the frequent and continuing contact of the child with both parents. Oftentimes, this results in joint custody, but it can result in sole custody with frequent visitation.
Because frequent and continuing contacts with both parents are so important for a child, a parent’s willingness to allow that contact is an important factor to a court. Unless there is a good reason not to allow that contact, a court is more likely to order custody that will ensure frequent contact.
Although the gender of the parent was once a factor in making a custody determination, courts no longer look to the gender of the parent when making a decision regarding whether that parent should be the custodial parent. Thus a father is not precluded from having custody of an infant child.
But the location of a child in reference to school may be a factor, as is the location and availability of extended family members who are close to the child.
Finally, a court cannot rule against a parent seeking custody solely on the basis of absence due to military service. However, temporary custody orders may be entered during that time.
Each family situation is a bit different. Bring your questions and concerns to your Okmulgee child custody attorney.
Free Consultation: Okmulgee Child Custody Attorney
When you need a lawyer to help you understand the divorce process ahead, or you need someone to talk to about child custody matters, it’s time to reach out for a confidential, no-cost consultation with an Okmulgee family law attorney.
Simply call (918) 756-9600, or toll-free (888) Wirth-Law, now for a consultation with an Okmulgee, Oklahoma lawyer at the Wirth Law Office – Okmulgee.
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