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Child CustodyChild Custody in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, every case that involves children, whether it is a divorce, paternity, or modification involves the issue of child custody and visitation. The court is under a duty to inquire as to whether the parties have children, and if so, to whom to award custody and visitation.  Child custody and visitation are about two things (1) who makes legal decisions for the children and (2) the amount of time the children spend with each parent.

In a sense, child custody and can be boiled down to the following two questions:

  1. Who makes decisions for the children?
  2. How much time do the children spend with each parent?

In Oklahoma, there are many laws on child custody and visitation. However, not matter what the law, the main statute on child custody is found in Title 43 O.S. § 112 and requires:

In any action in which there are minor unmarried children in awarding or modifying the custody of the child . . .  the court shall . . . consider what appears to be in the best interests of the child.

Joint vs. Sole Custody

Many people wonder about what the difference is between Joint and Sole Custody. One thing to make clear is that joint and sole custody have nothing to do with how much time the child spends with either parent. Instead, these terms relate to who has legal decision making authority over a child.

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Child Custody & Visitation Issue Questions

Below is a list of questions that need to be answered in any child custody and visitation case.

Legal Custody

  • Will the parents make legal decisions for the children jointly?
    • If yes, how will the parents resolve disagreements?
      • Will one parent be the tie breaker?
    • If no, who will be the decision maker for the children?

Physical Custody

  • How will the children’s time be divided between each parent’s home?
    • Will the parties share the children equally?
      • If no, who will have the children the majority of the time
        • How much time will the non-custodial parent have?
  • Will the schedule be different in the summer?
    • If yes, what will the schedule be?
  •     How will the parents divide holidays?
  • How will the parents exchange the children?
  • Are there any transportation costs that need to be divided?


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