The Oklahoma child custody lawyers at Kania Law Office are skillful in Oklahoma child custody issues. Child custody refers to the right to care and oversee a child’s day to day activities. This care giving includes decisions pertaining to school, discipline of the child, medical care, et cetera.
Historical Look at Custody:
Early in American law, prior to the 19th century, courts used a rule of paternal preference. The earliest decision gave custody to the father as what might be a “property interest” in his children. As things progressed, the trend moved away from a preference for the father. Soon there became a preference for the mother in matters of child custody.
Tender Year’s Doctrine:
This involved a presumption created in favor of granting child custody to the mother of a young child. This preference continued unless the child’s biological mother was unfit. This outmoded rule created a burden of proof on the part of the father, whereby if the father did not prove that the mother was in fact unfit, custody of the young children would be awarded the mother.
Modern View of Child Custody:
The vast majority of American jurisdictions, including Oklahoma, have done away with the Tender Year’s Doctrine. Rather the presumption of the courts is that both biological parents are equally capable of caring for the child. Thus, no gender based bias for custody should exist.
Primary Care Giver Doctrine:
This is a presumptive doctrine which places a judicial preference for child custody on the parent who up until the divorce proceeding was the child’s primary care giver. Several factors act to determine which parent is to be the child’s primary care giver. These factors can include: which parent (1) put the children to bed, (2) groomed the children, (3) made medical decisions, and (4) acted to teach the children basic life coping skills. Although the Primary Care Giver Doctrine and presumption are not authoritative in Oklahoma, these factors are highly probative of what is in the Best Interest of the children.
Best Interest of the Child:
This is the prevailing school of thought found in Oklahoma child custody cases and most Jurisdictions in the United States today. The Best Interest Doctrine no longer looks at gender or marital preference. Rather the court determines whats in the best Best Interest of the Child and assigns custody from there. Some issues are that it’s a rather complex concept and is difficult to define. Among other factors, the Best Interest approach looks to maintaining the status quo in the parent child relationship. It also attempts to keep both parents involved to at least some degree in the children’s lives. Additionally the Best Interest will look to which parent is better in terms of maturity and ability to care for the child in an environment which is conducive to the child’s long term development.
Joint Legal Custody:
Joint custody in Oklahoma is sharing legal custody of the children. The basic concept envisions a parenting arrangement in which both parents share legal responsibility for child-rearing. This responsibility can limit or extend to day to day decision making for the child. Joint custodial custody involves the highest level of cooperation between the parents, and will be less likely to be upheld in those situations where the parents cannot cooperate in matters concerning child-rearing.
Oklahoma Joint Custodial Custody:
This version of shared custody involves the equal sharing of physical custody of the child. A typical example of joint custodial custody is when the child lives with one parent for one half of the year and with the other parent for the remaining half of the year. The courts will scrutinize this arrangement to ensure that moving the child will not be so disruptive to the child that his or her best interest is not served.