Protect Your Rights as a Parent With a Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody battles are often emotionally draining and difficult. This is true for the parents and the children. Self Legal Group offers experienced, compassionate child custody lawyers in Oklahoma. We help families who work to ensure your rights as a parent or upheld under family law and that your child or children receive what’s best for them. To discuss your case or to learn more about our Oklahoma City law firm.
How Child Custody Is Determined in Oklahoma
When it comes to your child, it is understandable that your feelings as a parent can escalate any situation. In the case of divorces, separations, and general custody battles, children can amplify any situation. Mostly, the parents make these sorts of situations worse, as a former couple can sometimes battle out for full custody. It is important that before attempting a custody battle, you need to know what child custody means and what offenses could take away custody rights. In its definition child custody is when: a custodial parent is a parent who is given physical or legal custody of a child by court order.
In Oklahoma, the standard a court uses to determine child custody is complex: What is in the best interests of the child? However, the court will look at a number of factors to determine custody, including, but not limited to:
- Moral, physical and emotional well-being of the child
- Child abuse, domestic violence or drug abuse
- Which parent is most likely to grant frequent visitation to the other parent
It is important to remember that, in Oklahoma, both parents start on equal ground. There is no presumption that the child would be better off with the mother or that sole custody is better than joint legal custody. Our child custody attorneys help you work for custody and visitation schedules that meet your and your child’s needs.
Types of Child Custody
Ultimately, a child-custody determination is decreed by a judge to the parent who will determine the upbringing of the child. There are multiple types of custody a judge can grant to a family. There are seven different types of custody a judge can rule in a case.
- Alternating Custody - when a child lives for an extended period of time with one parent, and another period of time with another parent. This type of custody is also called Divided Custody and is usually applied to couples from different states or even countries. The main difference between alternating custody and joint custody is that in alternating custody, the parent who has the child retains sole authority over the child while they are in that parent's care. Only when the child leaves to the other parent, is custody shifted. Again, this type of custody is typically utilized when the parents of a child live long distances away from each other, such as states or countries.
- Shared Custody - the child will live with one parent for an extended period of time. After that period of time, the child will be allowed to stay with the other parent. In this type of custody, both parents retain custodial authority over their child, however, only when the child is in their care or residence.
- Bird’s Nest Custody - Divorce or separation can be difficult for a child. Because of this stress, some parents choose to apply for a bird’s nest custody arrangement. In this scenario, the child remains in a permanent location, and the parents move from place to place. In this case, one parent will leave to a separate location, while the other parent stays to care for the child. Of course, this style of custody can be more difficult for the parents but is much more stable for the child. A drawback of this type of custody is that both parents will need to still find a separate place to stay while the other parent is watching their child. Because this is a less economical version of custody, it is the rarest form that couples choose for their custody case.
- Joint Custody - both parents have rights to their child, this is called joint legal custody. Both parents also shared joint physical custody, which means the child’s legal place of residence is recognized as the home of the separated parents. For instance, a mother and father can have two separate homes, and both homes are considered the home of the child. And, because both parents still have legal custody, under their individual homes, the parent has a say in their upbringing. The only way in which this version of custody differs from bird’s nest custody is that the residence of the child is determined by the home of each parent.
- Sole Custody - when one parent is granted sole legal and physical custody of the child. In this case, one parent is responsible for the upbringing of a child and ultimately can determine the visitation rights of the opposite parent. In most situations, sole custody is granted to a parent that is able to provide for the child. If one of the parents has been accused of any abuse, neglect, unemployment, and even addictive habits, their rights for custody and child visitation could be terminated. In this case, one parent would be granted complete guardianship of their child and file for child support from the opposite parent. It is important to note, however, that if one parent makes a false allegation of abusing their parental rights or neglecting their child, the other parent could suffer severe consequences. Making a false allegation in court could mean a termination of parental rights. According to the Oklahoma Bar Association, if a parent is found to have made an intentional false allegation against another parent for sexual abuse of their child, “ the court shall proceed with any or all of the following: . . . Award the obligation to pay all court costs and legal expenses encumbered (sic) by both parties arising from the allegations of the accusing party.” These “legal expenses” include the expenses for all court meetings, as well as paying for all the family law attorney fees for both themselves and the parent they have accused.
- Split Custody - children are separated with some living with one parent, and the other living with the other parent. Split custody is generally chosen because it allows the children to live in one permanent place, without having to trade living spaces. Though this type of custody allows for a clear separation between parents, it allows means there is a separation among siblings. Because of this, split custody is generally criticized as being too separatist in family situations.
- Third-Party Custody - If both parents are not capable of properly caring for their child, third-party custody can be granted. In this type of custody, guardianship can be given to a relative, such as an aunt, uncle, or grandparent. Unfit parenting would be determined by a court by acknowledging if both parents are physically, mentally, or emotionally able to care for their child. Also, if both parents have demonstrated an inability to provide for their children, they could be denied parental rights.
Visitation Rights in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, visitation rights refer to the right of a non-custodial parent to spend time with their child or children. If parents are married and seeking a divorce, they can include a visitation agreement in their divorce decree. If the parents are not married or are unable to come to an agreement, the court will make a determination based on the best interests of the child.
The Oklahoma court will consider a number of factors when determining visitation rights, including:
- The wishes of the child (if the child is old enough to express a preference)
- The relationship between the child and each parent
- The mental and physical health of each parent
- The ability of each parent to provide for the child's needs
- The geographic location of each parent's home
- Any history of domestic violence or abuse
Once visitation rights have been established, it is important for both parents to abide by the terms of the custody order. If one parent fails to comply with the order, the other parent can seek legal remedies to enforce the visitation rights.
Cases Involving Military Service Members
In cases where the parent with custody is a military member, accommodations can be granted. If the parent with custody is sent on a tour of duty or overseas for military service, a court cannot enter a final order until the tour is complete. However, a parent in the military can give permission to the court to make a ruling while they are on duty.
Can Modifications of Custody or Visitation Be Made?
Child custody and visitation agreements can be modified if there has been permanent, material and continuing change in circumstances. For example, a pattern of failure to comply with court-ordered visitation might be grounds to modify a custody agreement. Our Oklahoma City child custody lawyers work with you to change custody or visitation to accommodate your new circumstances.
You Deserve the Best Attorney in Oklahoma
You and your family deserve the best family law lawyer you can find to protect your interests and to help you navigate the Oklahoma civil and family courts. Our child custody attorneys are simply the best. Among our ranks are a former Assistant Attorney General and recognized advocate for children’s rights, a former prosecutor who is an aggressive domestic rights advocate, business and property attorneys to protect your assets and estate law attorneys with more than 20 years of experience.
At Self Legal Group’s Family Law Center you will find a safe, comfortable, friendly atmosphere where your legal needs and concerns are our top priority. With our lawyers, our clients can feel at ease discussing sensitive legal issues. Our goals are to help you understand the legal process, determine your position from a legal standpoint, then chart the best course of action to help you reach your goals. Contact us today to schedule your Initial Phone Consultation.
Oklahoma Child Custody Lawyers
Regardless of whether you are going through a divorce or a paternity action, child custody battles can be emotionally draining and difficult. The strain and stress can affect not only your own life but also your children.
The Oklahoma City child custody lawyers at Self Legal Group, understand how important your relationship is with your child. We handle the legal aspects of your case so you can concentrate on the health and well-being of your children. Our child custody attorneys work to give you the personal attention and experienced advocacy you need and deserve in your custody or visitation matter.
We offer a compassionate and caring environment for our clients. Contact an Oklahoma child custody attorney at our firm to discuss your case and set up an initial consultation.
Navigating Your Paternity Actions & Divorce in Oklahoma
Dealing with a paternity action or divorce can be difficult and overwhelming. With the help of a skilled, compassionate family law lawyer, the process can be made simpler and less stressful. Contact our Oklahoma City child custody attorneys today and together we will work toward a solution. We offer an Initial Phone Consultation and reasonable fees. Credit cards are also accepted. To learn more about Oklahoma family law, visit our Family Law Information Center and FAQ page.
Our Oklahoma City child custody lawyers are here to help you. Contact us today to start discussing your case.
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