Who Gets Custody of the Children and How Does that Work?

Lauren Portilloz
by Lauren Portilloz 25 Feb 2021

You may have children through a marriage and now you are going through a divorce or you had a minor child without being married. Either way, you now have to learn to co-parent for the rest of your life. If you want to divorce or leave your significant other, concerns about custody might be keeping you from filing or leaving.

Here are some common questions we get asked.

Who Gets Custody of the Children and How Does that Work?

What is Physical Custody and Legal Custody?

Physical custody is the physical care and control of the child. The physical custodian makes the day-to-day decisions while the child is in their care.

Legal Custody is who has the power to make decisions. This is the parent who has the power to make decisions for the child as related to education, religion, and medical care.

What is Sole Custody and Joint Custody?

Sole custody is awarded solely to one parent, including both legal and physical custody. If one parent is awarded sole custody, the noncustodial parent is typically awarded visitation.

Joint Custody can differ for every couple. Joint legal custody would allow both parents an equal voice in making decisions regarding the child’s welfare, such as which school to go to, what doctor to see, etc. Joint physical custody means that each parent has physical custody of the child for a significant period of time, although not necessarily an equal amount of time. In Oklahoma, joint custody plans can involve sharing by parents of some or all aspects of legal custody, physical custody, or both.

How does Oklahoma award custody?

Oklahoma Courts favor joint legal and physical custody. Courts will award sole custody under extenuating circumstances, such as abuse, domestic violence, drug or alcohol addiction, etc. Courts will look at what is in the best interest of the minor child when making decisions about custody. If one parent fights for sole custody but does not have a good reason, such as their reason is the new parent has a new significant other, this will not be a factor that will order them sole custody. Joint Custody Plans are required when the parties agree to joint custody. This sets out the proposed physical living arrangements, child support obligations, medical and dental care for the child, school placements, and visitation rights.

What are other factors that Court will take into consideration when deciding custody?

Courts will look at if granting visitation or custody will cause harm to the child, which parent will be more likely to allow visitation, sometimes preference of the child may be considered, the race of a parent or stepparent is not a factor, sexual preference is usually not a factor, false allegations of child abuse or neglect, and drug abuse.

If you and your spouse and or significant other are thinking about divorcing or separating, custody is usually the biggest thing on your mind. You may not get along with your spouse, but they are still your child’s parent and a big part of their life. Unless your spouse poses a risk of harm to the child, joint custody is generally in the best interest of the minor child.

Contact us at (918) 212-8079 if you have any questions related to custody.

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