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Divorce & Family Law Attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma
At our Tulsa, Oklahoma law firm, Christopher Eggert can help you with child custody. Child custody decisions are based on the best interests of the child. Finding what those interests at their heart, and getting the other parent or the judge to agree with you, is a detailed process in any divorce and family law case.
Divorcing parents have to deal with this issue as do unmarried parents who are no longer living together. Unmarried parents sometimes have an additional issue, determining legal paternity of the child.
A parent has no right to visitation or custody until paternity has been established. It is essential to find out whether a father is named on the birth certificate, and to get that addressed as soon as possible.
Custody is really all about making decisions. The custodial parent has the sole decision-making authority over the big things: residence, education, and medical care. In Oklahoma parents can opt for joint custody. When parents have joint custody, they share in the decision-making. Joint custody cannot be imposed on unwilling parents; it can only be agreed to when the parents are committed to working together in raising their child.
Most day-to-day decisions are made without regard to custody. The decision to take a child to a baseball game, to go fishing, to go to church together, and to seek emergency medical attention, are all done irrespective of who has custody. These things are all part of visitation or a parenting plan.
For many parents, visitation (also called a “visitation plan” or “parenting time”) is more important than custody. Oklahoma law provides a stock visitation plan, but creating a well thought-out, flexible and detailed parenting plan of your own is essential to having the best interaction with your child and the other parent over the years.
Defining when your weekends fall, vacations, summer schedules, birthdays, holidays, and so forth, is complicated. Done right, a detailed visitation plan can make dealing with the other parent easier when there are challenges in scheduling.
Modification and Enforcement
Circumstances change as the years pass. Parents move from one community to another, or even out of state. As the children age, their needs for visitation change because of school activities, sports, and interests. Sometimes a parent fails to to what is required.
As the years pass and circumstances change after your divorce or if your former spouse fails to abide by the divorce decree, you may want to consider modification or enforcement of your divorce decree.
Parents sometimes stop using their parenting time, incomes can change drastically up or down, and the needs of the children also change as they grow. The decree doesn’t change all by itself, however. You need to ask the court to modify the decree, whether it’s for custody, parenting time, child support or alimony.
Whether it’s your ex isn’t paying child support, or is refusing to let you see your children, confronting your ex directly isn’t the answer. Consider filing for enforcement of the court’s decree and orders. The court is there to help you get the money you are supposed to be paid and to see your children when you are supposed to have them.
Schedule an In-Depth Consultation
We’re here for you, and would love to find a time to get together for a one-hour, in-depth initial consultation to outline your needs, define how we can help, and give you peace of mind. Fee of $125 is collected at the time of the meeting.