Parents play a very important role in caring, providing for, and shaping the lives of their children. And when parents go through a divorce, children are bound to get affected by it. To ensure their well-being, many states including the state of Oklahoma have made legislation that protects the interests of these children and holds the parents responsible for their care. If you’re a parent, especially a father going through or anticipating a divorce in Oklahoma, it becomes important to have some knowledge of these laws in order to protect your rights as a parent.
Importance of Child Custody Laws
The fight for your rights in a divorce is very taxing not just for you but also for your children. The care and custody of the children is often the top priority of the parents. But sometimes the battle of parents over custody arrangements can turn into a disturbing situation for the children. Child custody laws may determine which parent will get the child’s custody, but they put the interests of the child first and foremost. These laws ensure the child does not get hurt physically, emotionally or socially by the custody arrangements.
Types of Custody
Child custody refers to all parental rights in the upbringing of the child. These rights include seeking custody, seeking visitation, involvement in making important decisions regarding the child’s education, health, medical care, etc., and getting notified and heard before the rights are terminated by a court. Oklahoma courts grant different types of child custody to address various aspects of the child’s well-being. These types are:
Physical custody is the child’s care at that particular time. The parent to whom the child’s care is entrusted at that particular moment is said to have the physical custody of the child at that moment. During allocation of custody, the court gives a parenting plan which specifies who will have the physical custody of the child through school, in holidays, during weekends, on festivals and special occasions.
Legal custody refers to a parent’s right to make important legal decisions regarding education, health, medical care, religion and more for the child. It can be of two types: Sole Custody or Joint Custody. Sole custody means only one parent gets the right to make legal decisions for the child. Under joint custody both the parents share the right to make important decisions for the child.
Primary custody is a relatively new concept in child custody laws. It refers to the primary right to making legal decisions for the children in case one of the parents move a significant distance away. When one of the parents moves away or seeks to relocate the court may ask the parents to specify who the primary custodian is. If you’re a father seeking to relocate, you might need to modify your custody or father visitation rights.
If you’re a father who already has court-ordered custody arrangement, you can still file a motion to modify custody order in case of substantial changes. Even the Oklahoma courts agree that an individual’s life and situation tends to change as time passes and this can affect the child custody arrangements. Hence, the court also considers such modifications given they are driven by substantial changes in your circumstances that invariably affect the best interests of your children.
Fathers often have to fight harder for their parental rights due to the misconception that only mothers can take the best care of the child. When you’re navigating a divorce or wishing to modify a court-ordered custody arrangement, it is better to let an experienced child custody attorney handle your case to protect your parental rights.