Oklahoma Parenting Plan and Agreement Guidelines

The Oklahoma laws about custody and parenting plans are found in Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Here are some guidelines from the law to help you make your parenting plan.

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Types of custody

The court can grant custody to either parent or to the parents jointly.

Joint custody means that the parents share all or some aspects of the physical and legal care of the child. Joint custody is sometimes called joint legal custody and/or joint physical custody.

When custody is granted to one parent it is sometimes called sole physical custody. In this case, the other parent is given visitation with the child.

Required parenting plan

If either or both parents request joint custody, the parents must file a parenting plan with the court. The parents can submit a plan together or each parent can submit a separate plan.

Your parenting plan is the plan for how you and the other parent will exercise joint care, custody, and control of your child.

Your plan should include:

The court will issue a final parenting plan based on the plan or plans submitted by the parents. The court can make any changes to a submitted plan or plans and the court can also reject the request for joint custody.

Oklahoma policies that affect the parenting plan

As you make your parenting plan, you should think about these policies:

  • The court makes parenting plan decisions based on the best interest of the physical, mental, and moral welfare of the child
  • The court considers it in the best interest of the child to have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child
  • Parents are encouraged to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing the child after a divorce
  • There is no preference for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody
  • When awarding custody, the court will consider which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the other parent
  • The court does not prefer a parent as a custodian of the child because of gender
  • The court will listen to the opinions of a child 12 years old and older

Your parenting plan should give your child frequent and continuing contact with both parents and show how the parents will share the rights and responsibilities of raising the child. You should make your plan so it is in your child's best interest.

Process to make your plan

The court encourages parents to work together to make a plan for custody that they both support. You and the other parent should try to negotiate a plan and submit it together to the court. The court usually accepts plans that parents submit together.

If you and the other parent can't agree on your plan, the court may have you attend counseling or custody mediation to get help with your plan. In mediation or counseling, you and the other parent will work with a third person to try and resolve your conflicts.

If you and the other parent can't make a plan together, you should submit an individual plan to the court. You should prepare to explain to the judge why your plan is best for your child.

The court will determine the final plan of parents who aren't able to agree.

Education program

In actions for divorce, custody or visitation, paternity, guardianship, modifications of custody or visitation, etc. the court may require parents to attend an educational program.

The educational program discusses:

  • The impact of separate parenting and coparenting on children
  • The implications for visitation and conflict management
  • Development of children
  • Separate financial responsibility for children
  • Other instruction the court thinks is necessary

The educational program is for education purposes and not for individual therapy or counseling.

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The top fifteen cities in Oklahoma (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Norman, Broken Arrow, Lawton, Edmond, Midwest City, Moore, Stillwater, Enid, Muskogee, Bartlesville, Shawnee, Owasso, Ardmore.

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