Parents more than anyone else have the best interests of their children at heart, which is why so many Okmulgee, Oklahoma judges prefer to award joint custody when possible. When a marriage ends in divorce, the involvement of both parents in the life of the child is threatened.
Raising children, however, can be a complex undertaking that requires time, knowledge, and skills that are more caught than taught. It takes the cooperation of both parents for the best outcomes in parenting efforts.
Oklahoma courts recognize the necessity of both parents in the life of a child. Courts determine child custody matters brought before them by trying to work out how both parents can be involved. This is what they consider serving the best interests of the child.
If both parents are mature, healthy, and responsible, the court will endeavor to involve both of them in the life of their child. Joint custody will be granted in such a case.
If the parents are amicable enough and can agree on an acceptable custody schedule, the court will usually accept it.
Children, particularly those who are still minors, are negatively affected when their parents file for divorce. It gets worse when children are the subject of bitter court battles between the parents. Offspring are happier when their parents agree regarding them.
Joint custody is not always possible, even though it typically serves the best interests of a child. The following are scenarios in which courts may not grant joint custody.
1. One parent may not want custody of the children. A court will not enforce joint custody in the way that it would for child support. Such a parent may be living a life that they consider unsuitable for their children. The court will respect the decision of the parent who does not want custody, but will grant visitation rights if they are requested.
2. If a parent lives rather far away from a child’s primary residence, he or she may not be granted custody even if they request it. The court will not see how the parent who lives far away can effectively participate in making decisions for the child. The court believes the child’s best interests will be served by only one parent having custody. The non-custodial parent could have visitation rights, though.
3. If one parent is unfit in any way, the court will not grant joint custody. The fit parent will be granted sole custody.
An unfit parent is one who has personal problems such as:
- untreated drug or alcohol abuse;
- inappropriate behavior such as engaging in promiscuity in the presence of the children;
- involvement in criminal activity; or
- a history of domestic abuse.
If an unfit parent petitions the court for custody, it will not be granted. An unfit parent may also be denied visitation rights.
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