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:
- Who makes decisions for the children?
- 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.