How Is Child Custody Determined in Oklahoma Divorce Cases?

4 mins read
Child Custody
Child Custody

Determining child custody can be a contentious issue, and emotions will often run very high. We are going to look at the general guiding principles of how child custody is determined in Oklahoma, but for specific cases, an Oklahoma City divorce lawyer would be able to provide more detail. The main focus will always be the best interests of the child. Everything used to determine custody will come back to how it would affect the child.

How Is Child Custody Determined in Oklahoma Divorce Cases?

Who Decides Custody?

Many parents choose to figure out the details between themselves, but in those cases, the custody is unenforceable. If something were to change and one parent were to suddenly withdraw visitation, for example, there would be no immediate way of gaining it back without starting the court proceedings.

If the matter is taken to court, child custody is ultimately determined by a judge. They will listen to the arguments that both parents put forward, and will decide which option would be in the best interests of the child.

Physical and Legal Custody

Physical Custody

Physical custody is where the child lives and who gives them day-to-day care. Physical custody can be granted solely to one parent. In this case, the child would live with them 100% of the time. Visitation will be granted to the noncustodial parent so that they can have contact with the child, absent any serious reasons why it shouldn’t be.

Physical custody can also be granted jointly to both parents. This can take many forms. The default is 50-50 custody because, under Oklahoma law, both parents are viewed as equally important for a child’s wellbeing. But family or work circumstances and other considerations about the best interest of the child could mean that a different split is best.

Legal Custody

Legal custody isn’t about where the child lives but is focused on who makes important decisions about his or her life. This includes health, education, or religious decisions.

Like physical custody, legal custody can either be granted solely to one parent or jointly to both.

What Are Custody Decisions Based On?

The main focus of family court decisions in Oklahoma is always the best interests of the child. The court will take into account a wide variety of factors, including:

  • The ability to provide for the child
  • The home environment and whether it is supportive
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The wishes of the parents
  • The wishes of the child (especially if they are 12 or older)
  • Alcohol or drug use/abuse
  • Criminal convictions
  • Quality of relationship between the parent and child

Hiring an Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer

It is always important to seek legal representation in any situation where someone is facing court. And it is especially important to seek representation that knows the specific laws for that state. Child custody laws and guidelines can differ depending on location. Click here to find out more.

If a child custody case goes to court, the decision on how to award both physical and legal custody is made by a judge. They will base their decision on a variety of factors and will examine how each of them contributes to the well-being of the child in question. During the court hearing, both parents will have the opportunity to put forward their case for why they should be awarded custody, represented by their lawyer if they have one.

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