Shared Parenting in Oklahoma is a form of child custody. One of the most challenging parts of any divorce or child custody case involving children is determining custody of the kids. These cases are often highly emotional and challenging for the entire family. Fortunately, some parents can work out schedules and plans together without spending significant time and money on litigation.
Courts will often award joint custody to the parents. Joint custody or shared parenting in Oklahoma means that the parents will share time and responsibilities related to their children. Working out a shared parenting plan is a complicated process that needs to address many issues related to caring for minor children. Because of this, anyone involved in a divorce or paternity case should stay calm and together with their family law attorney develop strategies that benefit them in their custody case. Here’s a brief rundown of shared parenting in Oklahoma.
Legal And Physical Custody
Custody is comprised of legal and physical custody. Legal custody grants an individual the right to make decisions on behalf of their child as it pertains to medical care, education, extracurricular activities, and religious upbringing. Parents often share this form of child custody, but in circumstances where the parties cannot agree on these essential issues, the court might grant one parent legal custody or divide responsibilities between the parents as the court sees fit.
When parents share physical custody, children will spend time at both residences. Most parenting plans will allow both parents time with their children. Parents should formalize these agreements in writing, including schedules for summer vacations, spring break, and holidays.
A detailed parenting plan can help avoid future conflicts between the parents. It can avoid family strife. The terms should give parents everything they need to understand their responsibilities and rights related to their children.
Courts Consider The Best Interests Of The Children
Courts make decisions related to parenting plans and custody based on what they believe is in the children’s best interests. The focus of a judge will be to determine the mental and physical welfare of any minor children involved – the parents’ best interests will always be on the back burner.
Typically, courts believe that the children should have ongoing frequent contact with both parents. However, there might be circumstances where a court will limit visitation, especially if that parent presents an unacceptable environment for the child or children. In this situation the Court may order sole custody or in more extreme circumstances require a parent to do supervised visitation. In most circumstances, ensuring the children’s ongoing relationship with both parents will be one of the most important aspects of any custody decision.
Courts will frown upon awarding custody to a parent who discourages the children from maintaining a relationship with the other parent. Also, contrary to popular belief, the gender of the parent is not a factor that courts will consider when making custody decisions. If the children are older, the court will listen to their opinion about where they would like to spend most of their time.
Making Changes To A Custody Plan
Once the parents sign a custody agreement, the parenting plan will go into effect and remain active until the children reach adulthood or when a parent moves to modify the agreement. Modifying a custody plan can be challenging if the parents disagree. The parent seeking a modification will need to show that there has been a change in circumstances that took place after they reached an agreement with the other parent, and that a new custody arrangement will be significantly better for the children.
If parents agree to a modification, the process is much simpler. Parents engaging in modifications should remember that changes in custody can also lead to changes in child support.
Child Custody Attorney Near You
A custody agreement will impact parents and their relationships with their children for many years to come. There is a lot at stake. For this reason, if you are going through a divorce, you should consult with a child custody attorney who can advocate on your behalf. For more insights on shared parenting, reach out to the family law lawyers at Kania Law Office by calling (918) 743-2233 or by contacting us online.