Norman OK Child Custody Lawyers
Helping Families With Sole & Joint Custody Throughout Seminole & Cleveland County
Our Norman child custody and visitation rights lawyers have decades of combined experience to apply to your family law issue. We remain dedicated to achieving your goals as efficiently as possible through stellar service and prominent legal ability. We always work to obtain goals, especially for your child's best interests.
Child custody and visitation rights are issues that must be resolved to finalize your divorce. These issues may also arise in post-divorce situations when modifications to existing court orders are needed to accommodate substantial changes in your or your ex-spouse’s circumstances.
In some instances, grandparents need to step in to care for a child or to seek the right to visit a child when barred by an uncooperative parent. Whatever the situation you face concerning your child(ren) or grandchild(ren), Nichols Dixon is here to help.
What Are the Different Types of Custody in Oklahoma?
Child custody generally refers to both physical and legal custody. Physical custody involves where and with whom the child lives, while legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions about the child’s education, health, religious practices, and other important issues.
Oklahoma courts favor children having a structured and continuing relationship with both parents barring any reason against it (such as domestic violence or a substance abuse problem). Therefore, many courts award joint custody, as it is considered to be in the child’s best interests.
At Nichols Dixon, we provide assistance with custody-related issues for parents and grandparents such as:
- Parenting plans
- Custody agreements
- Parent or child relocation
- Pursuing legal adoption of a grandchild
- Post-judgment modifications of custody orders
- Protective and restraining orders to protect children
- Enforcement of custody and visitation orders when obligations are not being fulfilled
- Paternity testing and litigation if needed to establish parental rights related to custody, visitation, and child support
- Establishing a visitation plan that enables grandparents to see a grandchild and play an active part in the child’s life
- Establishing a guardianship that will allow grandparents to make important decisions and act legally on a grandchild's behalf — typically when biological parents cannot or will not handle these responsibilities
How Is Child Custody Determined in Oklahoma?
A judge will consider a variety of factors when deciding on custody. In Oklahoma, decisions are always determined based on the "child's best interests." The courts will also consider what the child prefers, in cases involving older and discerning children who can vocalize their wants and needs.
Some of these factors include the following:
- The parents' physical, emotional, and mental well-being
- The need to provide a stable home environment for the child
- The ability to provide a support system for the child
- The child's current school and community
- Whether or not a parent has had a history of abuse or domestic violence
- Whether or not a parent has had a history of drug, alcohol, or sexual abuse
- The child's personal preferences, if reasonable
Of course, every child's needs will be different. The bottom line is ensuring that your child continues to be brought up in an environment that is not only supportive, but will allow him or her to thrive, grow, and learn. If you have questions about child custody and the next steps in the court process, please do not hesitate to contact Nichols Dixon PLLC.
Determining Parental Fitness
Parental fitness refers to a parent's ability to provide the bare minimum of care for their child. If there is proof to the contrary, the court generally concludes that parents are fit to parent. It's not unusual for one parent to say the other is unable to have custody in a contested custody dispute. When a parent's fitness is challenged, the court will request proof to back up the assertion. Parental fitness is difficult to prove, and the court evaluates a parent's fitness on an individual basis. As a result, certain considerations will be included in determining whether or not the parent is capable of parenting.
Is Oklahoma a Mother's State?
In Oklahoma, the mother legally retains sole custody of any child born out of wedlock. Basically, any father that isn't married when their child is born has no automatic custody rights. However, once he establishes paternity, he can then petition the Oklahoma courts for custody, visitation and child support rights.
Talk to one of our Norman child custody and visitation rights attorneys about your legal issue today. Call (405) 294-1511.
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