If you ever filed a divorce or paternity law suit in Oklahoma you ultimately received a judgment normally called a Divorce Decree or Paternity Decree. Whichever the case, the Decree will establish the parties’ rights and obligations as they pertain to things such as child custody, visitation and child support. The problem is we live in a very dynamic society where circumstances are forever changing. And since the courts cannot anticipate every change, there are times when the courts’ decrees must be modified. In Oklahoma, child custody child support modification cases are more common in the family court
When Can We Modify Decrees:
Some provisions in a Decree cannot be modified. Specifically final orders regarding property division are not modifiable. The Courts treat a court’s division of property as they would any other Civil Court judgment. Once the appeal time has run there is no way to modify a division of property. On the other hand, child custody, visitation and child support orders can be modified. However there must be a showing that since the entry of the Decree there has been a permanent, substantial and material change of conditions. Once this has been shown the court has the authority to modify the final decree provisions related to child custody, visitation and child support.
Modifying Child Support
One of the easiest provisions to modify is child support. The required change of circumstances can include things such as more or less visitation time, either parent’s income has changed or the child reaches the age of majority. If there is a change in circumstances the court can modify the decree by either increasing or decreasing the child support obligation.
Modifying Child Custody
Modifying child custody is far more difficult. When attempting to modify custody orders the moving party must first show a permanent, substantial and material change of conditions. This change of condition is famous and set out in Gibbons v. Gibbons. Once this has been shown, the court has jurisdiction to modify the custody orders. However, to prevail in modifying custody orders the moving party must also show the modification to be in the best interest of the child(ren). In Oklahoma Family Courts there exists a presumption that the continuation of child custody decrees currently in place is in the best interest of the child. Therefore to prevail in a modification the moving party must overcome that presumption.
Reasons that constitute an adequate change in circumstances to modify custody orders include activities such as the current custodial parent engaging in drug and alcohol abuse, physical or psychological abuse of the minor child(ren) or inappropriate behavior on the part of the custodial parent’s acquaintances. The parties can also enter an agreement that a substantial change in circumstances exist and that the new orders are in the best interest of the minor child(ren).
Tulsa Modification Attorney Near You
If you’ve got a child custody child support modification case it doesn’t have to be so difficult. An important thing to consider is that sitting on your rights and waiting isn’t always the right thing. The Family Courts in Tulsa and throughout the State hear modifications on a regular basis. People just like you have an order in place and since it was entered things have changed. If this change is material call our Tulsa lawyers and lets do a free consultation.