Who is the primary custodian in child custody cases in Oklahoma depends on several different factors. When parents’ divorce, they or the court must decide which parent will become the primary custodian. Namely, primary physical custodians will have the children more time than the other parent does. For this reason, when both parents seek to be the primary custodian, a bitter custody battle can ensue. Here’s more on what a primary custodian is in Oklahoma, and what you can do if you wish to become one.
Custodial And Non-Custodial Parents
In most situations following divorce or separation, both parents continue to spend time with their children and share decision making responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean that both parents have an equal amount of time with the children.
The difference between a custodial and non-custodial parent in Oklahoma comes down to the amount of time each parent has with their children. A custodial parent will have physical custody of their children for more than 182 days a year. A non-custodial parent will have their children 182 days a year or less. Essentially, the parent who has the children more time is the primary custodian in child custody cases in Oklahoma.
How Do Courts Decide Which Parent Gets Primary Custody?
Suppose the parents cannot reach an child custody agreement on their own or through mediation. In that case, the court will evaluate the family situation and determine what custody arrangement they believe will be in the children’s best interests.
Courts do not favor one gender over the other when determining who is a custodial parent. Instead, the courts look at:
- the relationship that the children have with each parent
- the ability of each parent to provide a stable environment for their children
- the ability of each parent to foster a relationship with the other parent, and
- other factors that indicate one home is better suited as the primary residence for the child.
Notably, one parent might have far more time with their children than the other parent does. Here are some factors that the judge might consider when determining the amount of time that each parent receives:
- the location of each parent’s home
- whether it is easy for the children to transport back and forth between the two homes
- each parent’s work schedule, and
- the proximity of each home to the children’s school(s).
Custodial Parents And Decision Making
Custodial parents may have primary physical custody of their children, but the parents may share legal custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make important decisions related to their children’s upbringing. If the parents share legal custody, they will both have the opportunity to make decisions about their children’s medical care, education, religion, among other things.
Primary Physical Custody And Relocation
A parent in Oklahoma will need to be the primary physical custodian to seek the court’s approval for relocation (moving elsewhere). Complications arise when parents have joint custody and share decision-making responsibilities and time with their children. It is important to note that moving with a child can be a challenge and sometimes warrants a change to the existing custody order.
Speak To A Family Lawyer
Who is the primary custodian in child custody is often a contested issue in divorces. The legal system is complicated, and the analysis involved in determining sole custody, joint custody or shared custody can be confusing and frustrating. However, there are ways to work out an arrangement that will provide support and stability for the family’s children. No one should attempt to navigate the Oklahoma court system on their own, especially when the court’s decisions will significantly impact their relationship with their children. If you are facing a custody issue, an experienced Oklahoma family law attorney can provide you with much-needed guidance and direction. To learn more about becoming primary custodian, touch base with Kania Law Office by calling (918) 743-2233 or by contacting us online.