Stillwater Child Custody Lawyer

Oklahoma Child Custody Lawyer Family Law Attorney Free ConsultationEvery parent has the right to be involved in their child’s life. Unfortunately, agreements over child custody and visitation schedules are often hard to reach following a separation. These types of legal issues should always be handled carefully and with the child’s best interests in mind. To ease the burden during this difficult time, it is best to hire a Stillwater child custody lawyer. Consulting with a well-practiced child custody lawyer at Murray Law Firm will help ease your burden so you can reach a peaceful resolution.

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“James V Murray is the most honest lawyer in the state. He has always represented me well. Anytime I have had questions he was quick to return my phone calls. And everyone know how stressful it can be with a X wife and children in the court system.”

Types of Child Custody in Oklahoma

If you are in the process of getting a divorce in Oklahoma and are concerned about the well-being of your child, it is important to have a good understanding of the various legalities regarding child custody. Child custody laws vary from state to state, so it is best to seek the advice of an experienced Stillwater child custody lawyer before moving forward.

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Until a court order has been mandated, both parents have equal entitlement to physical custody of their child. When a parenting agreement cannot be reached, child custody is determined in court. The state of Oklahoma recognizes several different types of child custody: joint custody, sole custody, split custody, and birdnesting.

  1. Joint Custody

If a court awards joint custody, then both parents will have a role in the physical and legal custody of their child. Physical custody refers to where the child will live, while legal custody concerns the child’s decision-making. Choices regarding education, religion, and medical treatment are all aspects of legal custody.

Parents who seek joint custody are required to submit a parenting plan detailing the childcare responsibilities of each. The court will usually accept any joint custody arrangement that has been mutually agreed upon so long as it keeps the best interests of the child in mind.

Joint custody in Oklahoma does not necessarily mean an equal 50-50 split. One parent may receive full physical custody of the child while the other will retain visitation rights. The court determines this based on several factors, including parental relationships and well-being of the child.

  1. Sole Custody

Sole custody means that one parent is awarded exclusive control of any decisions regarding a child’s upbringing. This means they will have both physical and legal custody of the child. The noncustodial parent is still allowed “reasonable” visitation, which is determined by the court. Sole custody is often awarded when the parents live far apart or have shown an inability to effectively communicate.

  1. Split Custody

When separated parents have more than one child, the court may award split custody. Split custody is an arrangement in which each parent has custody of at least one child. For example, two children may live with one parent while the other parent has custody of the remaining children. Just like with other forms of custody, split custody is awarded as the court sees fit. The most important determining factor is whether it is in the best interest of the children.

  1. Birdnesting

Birdnesting is a divided custody arrangement in which the children live in one place while the parents take turns rotating in and out. This is a relatively rare form of child custody that requires extensive cooperation. The parents’ rotating schedule is determined by the court.

How is Child Custody in Oklahoma Determined?

In the state of Oklahoma, the court always determines custody arrangements based on what is best for the child. The court will examine several key components to inform their decision, including whether the parents have a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or mental health issues. These factors play a strong part in determining who will be given custody, and what type of custody arrangement will be issued.

Custody may be determined based on which parent is most suited to provide for the child’s needs. However, the court will also examine the relationship each parent has with the child, along with the parents’ relationship with each other. For example, sole custody may be awarded to the parent who is more likely to allow visitation rights to the noncustodial parent.

In some cases, the child’s personal preferences may be considered. Under Oklahoma law, the court allows the preferences of a child over the age of 12 to be taken into consideration. It then must be determined whether this is an “intelligent preference.” However, the court will usually base their decisions around the child’s best interests rather than the child’s desires.

Once issued, child custody arrangements cannot be modified unless a substantial change in circumstances occurs. The parent requesting the custody modification carries the burden of proof as to why the change would be necessary. A court isn’t likely to modify a child custody arrangement unless the child would significantly benefit from the change. If you are having issues with a current child custody arrangement and would like it modified, you will need the assistance of a knowledgeable Stillwater child custody lawyer.

Frequently Asked Child Custody Questions

How do the courts determine child custody during divorceHow do the courts determine child custody during divorce?

All divorce cases and family matters deal with children. What’s most important to the courts and to all lawyers involved is what’s in the best interest of the children, and that’s a slippery slope. Everyone looks at things differently. Everyone has their perception. One thing we can start with is this: your children will always be your children, and parents need to work together for what’s in the best interest of them.There are reasons why one person thinks the other person shouldn’t have custody – I understand that – but when it comes right down to it, both parents love their child. I tell people all the time be careful the positions you take and the battles you want to fight because you could win the battle and lose the war. I always take time with my clients, to analyze the situation with them and help them understand what their thoughts are about what their best interests are and why. I help them evaluate to make sure they’re sincere and they’re not more to punish the other parent. What it all comes down to, at the end of the day, is the court’s worried and concerned about what’s in the best of the children, and the parents should be too.

Can a child choose who they want to live with?

If you’re going through a divorce process and you believe that your child wants to live with you, the question becomes, do you believe that the child can voice that opinion? Likewise, if they want to stay with your spouse, can the child voice that opinion? This depends. In Oklahoma, the age of preference that a child can voice their opinion which parent they want to reside with is the age of 12. At that point, the court will listen to the child’s preference, does not have to follow it, but Oklahoma law is pretty clear that it is a strong presumption that the child’s preference may be followed.

What is shared parenting?

If you’re going through the divorce process and you have minor children, you’re probably most concerned with how much time you’re going to get to spend with the kids. There’s something in Oklahoma called shared parenting, which allows the parties to have equal time; both parents, mother and father, get equal time with the kids. Oftentimes, it can be week-to-week alternating. It’ll just depend on factors specific to your case – how far apart you guys reside, what the ages of the children are, and so forth. It’s something where you have to review that situation with an experienced divorce attorney, to assess what the options are.

What is the difference between sole custody and joint custodyWhat is the difference between sole custody and joint custody?

If you’re going through a divorce process and you have children, the question’s going to be, “What type of custody do I qualify for?” In Oklahoma, there are two broad categories; there’s going to be sole custody and there’s going to be joint custody. The parent receiving sole custody will have the unilateral right to make decisions that affect the child’s life, including but not limited to medical decisions for major medical procedures, educational decisions for the child or children, and extracurricular activities even can be decided unilaterally by that parent. Sole custody vets that parent with a lot of authority over the children’s lives, so it’s important to contact an experienced divorce attorney to determine whether it’s your right to receive sole custody or whether the other parent is likely to receive that.

How do judges decide who gets custody of the children?

If you’re going through a divorce action, you and your spouse probably both are seeking to have custody of your children. In doing so, the question becomes what do the judges look at in determining which parent is going to receive custody? At the trial, there will be evidence and testimony presented, and the judge is supposed to evaluate that based on what will serve the best interest of the minor children in which parent receives custody. In doing so, you’ll need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to assess what your facts are that will best serve your case in making a claim for custody.

Do family courts favor the mother?

I had a consultation recently with a father. He was going to be going through a divorce and there were minor children resulting from the marriage. He was concerned about getting a fair shake at custody, and the court system favoring the mother.  In Oklahoma, there’s actually a law that states that there is supposed to be no preference regarding whether it’s a mother or father; there’s no presumption about who is more fit and preferred to have custody. Knowing that moving forward, that may ease someone’s mind if you’re a father going through this process.

What are typical visitation schedules for child custody?

If you’re going through a divorce process and you have minor children, you’re probably concerned with how much time you’re going to get to spend with them. In doing so, visitation comes up and that topic is subject to a number of ways in which you can divide how much time the mother and father will get with the children. If you come to an agreement with your spouse, as far as how much time you’ll receive with your children, that’s probably the best, most secure way to know what you’re going to receive. If you’re unable to, there are other factors that will come into play and you will want to consult a divorce attorney who’s experienced in child custody in order to determine what your options are.

Can I move out of state with the childrenCan I move out of state with the children?

If you’re dealing with a situation where you’ve had a divorce and you’re the noncustodial parent – let’s say your spouse has sole legal custody of your minor children – the question sometimes becomes, can that spouse relocate with your children? The answer is, it depends. There’s a certain procedure in place in Oklahoma that requires you receive notice, at least 60 days in advance, subject to some exceptions. In doing so, you will then have an opportunity to file an objection of record, and potentially have a trial on the issue of whether the relocation should be permitted by the court. You need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to review your situation.

How do I modify my child custody order?

A lot of times, parents who have gone through a divorce process wonder if they can change a custody agreement. The answer is maybe. It’s going to depend on whether you qualify under Oklahoma law.There’s a standard in which there needs to be a substantial permanent and material change of circumstances that directly affects the best interest of the minor children. Your request to change custody should be serving those best interests for the minor child’s temporal, mental, and moral welfare. That’s something that we assess on a case-by-case basis. If you believe you have a viable condition that’s occurred that results in a modification of custody in your favor, you need to contact an experienced divorce attorney to review those facts.

Consult with a Stillwater Child Custody Lawyer Today

An experienced Stillwater child custody lawyer will help you reach a peaceful solution that is agreeable for both parties. But more importantly, an experienced attorney will help you find a solution that works best for your child.

Read Our FREE Divorce Guide

Child custody cases are complex, both legally and emotionally. Our well-practiced legal team will help simplify this process while minimizing any conflicts that may arise. Whether you are having difficulties agreeing on a child custody arrangement or are looking to modify or enforce an existing arrangement, please contact us today for a free consultation.

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