Special age considerations for child visitation orders in Oklahoma exist but depend on many different factors. If you are a noncustodial parent, visitation and custody is a crucial part of maintaining your relationship with your children. In establishing your rights to visitation and custody the age of your minor child may affect these valuable visitation rights?
Best Interests Of The Child
Being a parent in Oklahoma does not automatically provide you with visitation rights to see your minor children. As a parent in Oklahoma, you only have the right to seek visitation. Oklahoma law (O.S. § 43-112.2) states that an Oklahoma court will not grant visitation to a person if the evidence establishes that the visitation will likely expose the child to a foreseeable risk of significant harm. Thus, an Oklahoma court will only approve a parenting plan if its provisions, including those related to visitation rights, promote the best interests of the minor child.
Age Considerations in Visitation
In promoting the best interests of the child—aside from protecting the child from physical harm—the parent must meet the child’s needs. When considering the child’s best interests, age is an important factor. The needs of a child differ based on their age. In a divorce or custody case a parenting plan with a visitation schedule for children between the ages of six and nine will be different than a visitation schedule for children between the ages of 14 and 18. To maintain appropriate structure, supervision, and guidance, a parent must consider the child’s age.
Visitation For Children Under 6
Typically, children form major attachments to family members. When establishing visitation schedules for a child under the age of six, it is important to establish their primary attachment figure(s). Primary in this context means foundational, not favorite or preferred. This is often referred to as which parent is the primary custodian.
When a child is under six, the courts have determined that it is extremely important for them to have a relationship with both of their parents – unless a parent is abusive or unable to provide proper care and supervision for the child.
Children 6 To 9
For children in this age group, issues related to family life and fitting in are important. They are beginning to socialize by attending school and participating in clubs and team sports. Although still relatively young, children at this age are beginning to develop a sense of mastery as they learn new skills like reading, shooting a basketball, or playing a musical instrument. A visitation schedule will reflect these needs but consider the fact that children between the ages of six and nine still feel most secure in a family setting. As a result, visitation may include participation in some activity, but the child will spend most, if not all, of visitation with the parent.
Children 10 To 13
These years in a child’s life represent the transition where the child feels that they are no longer a child, even though the child is not yet even a teenager. This may be a difficult transition for child and parent alike as the child may start to behave dismissively toward a parent. Relationships with peers are becoming increasingly important to a child at this stage. As a result, children are starting to learn social conventions at this age. They are also becoming more expressive of their feelings. Still, the child may require the security of family life. A visitation schedule must respect this delicate balance between friends and family.
Children 14 To 18
As they move from adolescence to adulthood, teenagers begin to assert somewhat separate identities. They believe that they can make their own decisions with little or no input from their parents. Some may even expect, if not demand, that their parents respect their wishes unconditionally. They tend to increase their focus on friends, work, extracurriculars, and school with less regard for the family. They may even resist participation in family activities to spend more time with their friends. A visitation schedule must support a teenager’s independence and individuality. However, it must balance this need with that of maintaining the teenager’s connection to the family.
Tulsa Okla. Family Law Attorney Near You
Age considerations for child visitation in Oklahoma are based on a best interest of the child analysis. Like other best interest arguments the Family Court Judge requires specific testimony that special age considerations for child visitation need to be considered. Its the ability to make those arguments that you need most to win your case. The Tulsa custody and visitation attorneys at Kania Law Office has done this exact thing for over twenty years. Call today and get a free and confidential family lawyer today. 918.743.2233 or click to ask a legal question