Child Custody – well that’s a touchy topic. If one of the parents feels that the person who has custody is not fulfilling his or her obligation, there is an option to request for emergency custody. The best part is that this form can be filled online so as not to waste time by way of court procedures.
As is usual in most states, it is always better to get this done by a lawyer experienced in family law since the law differs in the case of married, divorced and unwed parents.
Types of custody
There are different types of child custody arrangements in the state of Oklahoma. The usual ones include custody with one parent or joint custody. In the case of custody by one parent, the court can use its discretion to allow visitation by the other parent or even short stays with the other parent. In case of joint custody, a very clear custody plan needs to be submitted for the honorable court’s approval either separately or jointly.
Most good family lawyers suggest that, even if the parents are at loggerheads, a judge would often appreciate a joint plan. A joint plan always saves time too.
Married but Divorcing Parents
If the parents already have a custody arrangement reached through mutual consent, there is no need for a specific court order for custody. In the eyes of the law, both parents have equal rights to keep their child or children unless otherwise proved in court.
If a situation arises when the parents have not been able to reach an arrangement, their only option is to seek help from the court. A “petition of custody” needs to be filed by the parent seeking custody in the relevant court.
If the custody has been granted to only one parent, the other parent has rights of visitation. It is interesting to note that the grandparents too have rights of visitation.
This is a very interesting type of custody where the child or children stay in a separate house and the parents go and stay with them on a rotation basis as per a schedule approved by the court. Usually, this happens in cases where the children are studying in a school away from their parents’ homes or when one or both parents have a work schedule that doesn’t permit them to be with the children. This has been applied in a few rare cases when a parent has been jailed or is bound by a restriction order. However, Oklahoma prisons do not have any restriction on children visiting their jailed parent.
Visitation not allowed
It is quite unusual for a court to not allow visitation by a parent or grandparents who do not have custody. Visitation is not allowed when it has been proved that the safety of the child can be in jeopardy if the other parent visits. If there were instances of child abuse, instead of visitation, the court may prohibit the accused parent from entering the vicinity where the child stays.
Heavy alcohol use and drug abuse may also prompt a family court judge to not allow visitations. In some cases, a prison roster has been used to convince the court that one of the parents is a habitual offender and visitation may have negative impacts on the child’s personality traits.
Visitation by a banned parent
At the same time, a judge can make exemptions in the ban to visit a child for certain occasions like a holiday or an event like the child’s birthday. But this is entirely at the discretion of the hearing judge and will be conducted under very strict supervision. If the visiting parent is a proven hardcore criminal, the other parent can even request for protection and supervision from the law enforcement agencies.
The Oklahoma State Marriage and Family Statute Title No. 43 of 2014 in section 43.110.1a has clearly made it the obligation of enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of a child during such a visit.
Change of custody
The parent who does not have custody has an option to file a “Motion to Modify Custody Order.” The parent who has custody can also file for this by citing reasons like financial hardship or any other change in circumstances. The common grounds included in these types of suites are a violation of visitation orders, alimony, child support or even being acquitted in another case which was one of the reasons for the present custody order.
The motion has to be filed in the same court which had ordered the original custody order along with all supporting evidence. In considering the petition the court will consider only the best interests of the child.
The child custody laws prevalent in the state of Oklahoma has been modified many times to be practical and also to suit the times. The basic tenets of democracy and free will have been sensibly applied by lawmakers to ensure that divorce has no or minimal effects on the welfare of a child or children when their parents separate.