Deciding Child Custody

Deciding child custody is often fraught with stress and complexity, echoing through the lives of everyone involved. At Murray Law Firm, we understand the emotional weight and legal intricacies of child custody cases, and we’re committed to providing guidance for families seeking the best possible outcome.

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How Do You Initiate a Child Custody Case?

Consult with an Attorney: Before taking any legal action, it’s essential to consult with a qualified family law attorney. An attorney can provide personalized guidance based on your unique situation and ensure that you understand your rights and options under Oklahoma law.

Determine Jurisdiction: Jurisdiction is crucial in child custody cases. In Oklahoma, jurisdiction is typically determined based on the child’s “home state,” which is where the child has lived for the past six months or since birth if the child is less than six months old. If Oklahoma is the child’s home state, you can proceed with filing your case in an Oklahoma court.

File a Petition for Custody: To initiate a child custody case in Oklahoma, you’ll need to file a Petition for Custody with the appropriate court. The petition should include details such as your relationship to the child, the child’s current living arrangements, and the custody arrangement you’re seeking.

Serve the Other Party: After filing the petition, you’ll need to ensure that the other party (usually the other parent) is served a copy of the petition and any accompanying documents. Service can be accomplished through personal delivery by a process server or certified mail.

Attend Mediation (If required): In Oklahoma, mediation is often required in child custody cases before proceeding to trial. During mediation, both parties will work with a neutral mediator to attempt to reach a mutually agreeable custody arrangement. If mediation is successful, the agreed-upon arrangement will be submitted to the court for approval.

Prepare for Court: If mediation is unsuccessful or not required, the case will proceed to court. It’s crucial to prepare thoroughly for court proceedings, including gathering evidence, preparing witnesses, and working closely with your attorney to develop a compelling case.

Attend Court Hearings: Attend all court hearings as scheduled and follow your attorney’s guidance regarding courtroom etiquette and procedures. Be prepared to present your case and respond to any questions from the judge.

Await the Court’s Decision: After hearing testimony and reviewing evidence, the judge will issue a custody order outlining the terms of the custody arrangement. It’s essential to comply with the court’s orders and work towards maintaining a positive co-parenting relationship for the well-being of your child.

Understanding Custody Arrangements

Murray Law Firm aids in deciphering the nuances of custody arrangements, ensuring they align with both the family’s needs and legal standards. From joint custody to sole custody, our team works to craft parenting plans acceptable to the court.

Physical Custody vs. Legal Custody

In any custody dispute, it’s crucial to grasp the distinction between physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child resides, while legal custody pertains to decision-making authority regarding the child’s welfare.

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Attorney with Over 40 Years Experience

How Does Equal Custody Work?

Equal custody, while seemingly straightforward, can present logistical challenges. Murray Law Firm acknowledges these complexities, emphasizing the importance of clarity in custody agreements and the need for legal counsel to navigate potential hurdles.

Factors Considered in Custody Determination

Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when allocating custody. Factors such as parental relationships, child preferences (depending on age), parental involvement, and a history of abuse or substance misuse may be considered in custody decisions.

Can Custody Orders Be Modified?

While custody orders are legally binding, there is the possibility for modification under certain circumstances. An attorney can assist in filing motions for modification, demonstrating substantial changes in circumstances and advocating for the child’s best interests.


Mr. Murray and his team were very professional and helpful throughout this process. As my case was very unique, I knew I was going to need a very specific and special team to help me through this. My wife and I prayed about it and God led us to Murray Law Firm. During the first consultation I requested he pray with me about it and he was quick to agree and that is when I knew we had made the right decision. They went above and beyond our expectations and won the case. I would highly recommend this firm.”

- Roger Buchanan


The Murray Law Firm worked wonders for me and my needs. James Murray along with his staff are so helpful, understanding, and answered all my questions and concerns. James was able to work his magic and get things done in such a timely manner. James even made his self available by phone after hours when I was in such need. He put not only mine but my whole families worries and concerns at ease. Would highly recommend James Murray to anyone searching for a very good attorney!"

- Tiara Rich


Jamie is personal yet professional. He can put you at ease and make you feel safe and secure. He will be at your side through this most difficult time in your life and will keep you informed about what is going on in your case and what you can expect. His staff is always ready and willing to do everything the can to help you. Highly recommended."

- Alicia Mayfield

Navigating Paternity Establishment

Establishing paternity is a pivotal step for fathers asserting their parental rights. Murray Law Firm guides clients through the legal intricacies of paternity establishment, ensuring comprehensive representation throughout the process.

Modification of Custody and Support Orders

Modifying custody or support orders requires a compelling case demonstrating substantial changes in circumstances. Murray Law Firm stands ready to assist clients in pursuing modifications that serve the best interests of the child.

Parental Decision-Making Authority

Beyond physical custody, securing decision-making authority is equally vital for a parent’s involvement in their child’s life. Establishing a robust legal framework that ensures both parents have a say in crucial matters is essential for fostering a balanced and supportive environment for the child’s growth and development. Our attorneys work tirelessly to advocate for clients’ rights to participate actively in shaping their child’s future, emphasizing the importance of collaborative co-parenting even in the face of disputes.

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Child’s Rights and Privileges

Establishing paternity not only safeguards the father’s rights but also ensures the child’s entitlement to emotional and financial support from both parents. By advocating for comprehensive legal recognition of paternity, we strive to create a stable and nurturing environment where the child’s needs are prioritized and met. Our attorneys guide clients through the intricacies of paternity establishment, empowering them to assert their parental responsibilities and rights with confidence and clarity.

The Role of Family Courts

Family court judges play a pivotal role in determining custody arrangements based on the child’s best interests. Murray Law Firm highlights the multifaceted considerations, from parental relationships to the child’s community ties, informing clients of the factors that influence custody decisions. With a nuanced understanding of the legal landscape, our attorneys navigate the complexities of family court proceedings, advocating for outcomes that promote the child’s well-being and stability. By fostering open communication and transparency, we strive to create a collaborative environment where all parties can work towards solutions that serve the child’s best interests.

Child’s Preference in Custody Matters

In some cases, the child’s preference regarding custody arrangements may carry weight in court proceedings. While the child’s preference is considered, it is essential to approach such matters with sensitivity and understanding, ensuring that the child’s wishes are heard and respected within the bounds of legal standards. Our attorneys work closely with clients to gather evidence and present compelling arguments that support the child’s expressed preferences while also addressing any concerns or challenges that may arise during the process.

Enforcement of Custody and Support Orders

Murray Law Firm emphasizes the importance of adhering to custody and support orders, while also recognizing the potential for enforcement actions if orders are violated. We provide guidance on navigating enforcement proceedings to ensure compliance with court mandates. By staying proactive and vigilant, we help clients navigate the complexities of enforcement proceedings, safeguarding their rights and protecting the best interests of the child. Our attorneys stand ready to advocate for clients in court, ensuring that custody and support orders are upheld and enforced effectively.

Given the complexity of child custody cases, Murray Law Firm knows the necessity of competent legal representation from the outset. Our team of experienced attorneys provides comprehensive guidance, advocacy, and support tailored to each client’s unique circumstances. From navigating complex legal procedures to advocating for clients’ rights in court, we are committed to providing the highest level of representation and support throughout the custody process. By leveraging our experience and resources, we empower clients to make informed decisions and pursue favorable outcomes that protect their interests and the well-being of their children.