Oklahoma Parenting Plans and Custody Agreements
This article covers custody agreements in Oklahoma and gives guidelines on creating an effective parenting plan for Oklahoma courts.
You can write up your own parenting plan (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own agreement, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates professional parenting plan documents and parenting schedules.
The State of Oklahoma has specific laws pertaining to child custody and visitation that should be reviewed prior to developing a parenting plan.
These laws can be found in the Oklahoma Statutes, Title 43, Marriage and Family.
The Oklahoma Statutes defines the different types of custody and the terminology used in court documents and by the court. The law is written in a clear, concise manner, and the legislation encompasses a variety of topics that may prove to be helpful in your unique situation.
By using the law as a tool when creating your Ohio parenting plan, you can strengthen the foundation of your plan and ensure the needs of your child are being met while satisfying the requirements of the court. This will better enable you to have a successful outcome in your case.
In all family law proceedings involving children, the State of Oklahoma mandates that the child's best interests, (the physical, mental, and moral welfare of the child), be considered paramount when determining the custody and visitation of a child (43 O.S.A. Sec. 109).
The court will consider all relevant matters concerning the child, including, but not limited to (43 O.S.A Secs. 109-112):
- The suitability of the proposed homes for the child
- Whether or not each parent is able to provide the child with a safe, nurturing environment, with adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care
- How the best interests of the child might be better served by residing with one parent over the other
- The child's mental and physical well-being
- The parents' mental and physical well-being
- Whether or not either parent has disobeyed a child custody order
- The likeliness of each parent to allow and encourage the child to have a close, loving relationship and frequent, on-going contact with the other parent.
- The child's history of care and who has acted as the child's primary caregiver, as well as the quality of that care
- The child's established relationships and bonds with each parent, any siblings, and any other person(s) who may significantly impact the child's best interests
- Whether or not changing the child's current situation would have a positive or negative impact on the child
- The child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community
- Any evidence of neglect, abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, or any other situation that is presumably detrimental to the child
The court makes the assumption that a child at least twelve years of age is old enough to make an intelligent decision regarding his or her own custody and visitation.
The court may hear and considered the wishes of the child, if the child chooses to express an opinion (43 O.S.A Sec. 113).
The court is not obligated to abide by the preference of the child, but will consider the child's opinion, along with other factors, when ruling on the case.
Yes. The court will also give consideration to the wishes and preferences of the parents, which is where the parenting plan becomes effective.
When you can work together to develop a parenting plan and jointly submit it to the court, it is the best possible scenario for your child custody case.
When you are able to work together, it helps you create a document that will benefit not only the child, but both parents, as well.
There are four basic options for child custody in the State of Oklahoma:
- Joint custody means the parents share custody of the child
- Sole custody means only one parent has custody but the other may have visitation
- Split custody means each parent is awarded custody of at least one of their children
- "Bird-nesting", a less common option, is where parents take turns living on one house with their child
It is the position of the state that it is in the best interest of the child if the parents share joint custody, (unless a situation is evident, such as a history of child abuse, which indicates to the contrary).
Parents are encouraged to work together, not only to create a parenting plan, but for the duration of raising the child (43 O.S.A. Sec. 110.1).
If you are able to demonstrate the willingness to compromise and cooperate with each other for the sake of your child, you will be much more likely to find yourselves pleased at the conclusion of your case.
There are a few components that should be included in order to have a comprehensive parenting plan:
- A declaration as to the custody of the child.
- A declaration as to the primary residence of the child, for legal purposes.
- A child visitation schedule that specifies that days and times the child will spend time with each parent.
- A holiday and vacation schedule.
- A statement defining each parent's authority as to making major decisions, such as educational and medical decisions, for the child.
- Methods for dispute resolution, in case future disagreements regarding the parenting plan should occur.
- A method for modifying the plan should the needs of the child or circumstances change in the future.
- Any other provisions the parents wish to include, such as stipulations regarding transportation arrangements during the exchange of the child, agreeing that each parent maintain a residence within a certain distance of the other, etc.
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.