One of the more difficult issues presented during a divorce is child custody. You want to protect your child and also protect the close relationship you have spent years developing with your child. We understand and are committed to fighting for your parental rights. We generally attempt to negotiate the best results for you and your child. However, we are fully prepared to litigate child custody matters before the Court when necessary. Our extensive litigation experience is a strong tool for protecting your rights if the need arises and we are not afraid to take your case to trial to protect your future.
In Oklahoma, the term “child custody” refers to the legal custody a parent has over a child. The parent who is granted legal custody of the child is the parent who is allowed by the Court to make important decisions for the child relating to education, health, safety, and welfare. There are generally three types of child custody that are awarded by the Court.
When sole custody is awarded one parent is given all decision making authority for the child. The other parent (also known as the non-custodial parent) will typically have visitation rights, but has no say in the decisions made for the child as the child grows up.
Joint custody allows both parents to share in the decision making process. Joint custody typically only works when both parents can work together and discuss issues relating to their child in a peaceful and constructive manner.
Physical custody is the amount of time the child spends with each parent. The Court determines physical custody. The reasons for the Court’s physical custody decisions can vary based on circumstances between the parents and the child.
The Court is bound by law to make all custody determinations based on what they believe is in the best interest of the child. Our job is to serve as an advocate for you to the Court in order to assist the Court in determining that granting you custody of your child is in your child’s best interest. The Court looks at a variety of things in making the determination including living conditions, parenting ability, any prior child abuse or domestic abuse, and the current status of your parent-child relationship.
Because life is full of changing circumstances the Courts are available for child custody modifications. In order to obtain a modification, the person seeking the modification must file a motion and then prove to the Court that there has been a permanent, material, and substantial change in the circumstances relating to the child’s best interests.