Seeking Sole Custody of Your Child in Oklahoma
What are the grounds for an award of sole custody in Oklahoma?
Custody will be a primary concern for any parent who finds themselves involved in a divorce in Oklahoma. When the parents can get along and both serve as positive role models for the child, joint custody is an obvious choice. In many situations, however, the child’s best interests dictate a need for sole custody. Fighting for sole custody of your child can be stressful and intimidating. You will need a strong Oklahoma child custody lawyer to advocate for you and your child.
Legal vs. Physical Custody
Custody can be divided into two broad categories: legal and physical custody. At times, you will want to seek sole legal custody, but joint physical custody, or vice versa. Your ideal custody situation will be dictated by numerous factors, including your relationship with the other parent and the other parent’s relationship with the child.
Legal custody refers to the power to make major decisions concerning the child. If you have sole legal custody, you will be able to make vital decisions as to your child’s education, religion, healthcare, and the like. Joint legal custody will involve both parents having a say in these important life decisions.
Physical custody refers to where the child will actually live. If you have sole physical custody in Oklahoma, your child will live solely with you, although he or she may visit the other parent on weekends or at other designated times. Joint physical custody involves the child living part-time in both homes.
Grounds for Sole Custody
In Oklahoma, unlike in some other states, the court does not have an automatic preference for joint or sole physical or legal custody. However, Oklahoma law states that, when in the best interests of the child, the court shall assure the child frequent and continuing contact with both parents after a divorce. Ultimately, an Oklahoma court will make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child.
There are some clear circumstances in which sole custody will be the better option for the child. When domestic violence exists, for instance, it is often best to award sole custody to the parent who did not commit the violent act. If one parent is unstable due to drugs or mental health issues, this may also serve as an indicator to a court to award sole custody to the other parent. Contact a child custody lawyer as soon as possible for assistance with your child custody case.