In 2019, the national divorce rate in Oklahoma was the second-highest in the nation, with a rate of 10.4% per 1,000 married individuals. Unfortunately, children are often caught in the crossfire of divorce. If you’re about to undergo a custody battle, it’s crucial to hire the right Oklahoma divorce lawyer to represent you and your children’s best interests.
Find the Right Divorce Lawyer for Your Custody Case
We know how difficult the process you are going through can be, if you are facing divorce and the prospect of your family splitting up. At Cannon & Associates, we genuinely and deeply care about every client we have the honor of representing. We understand how challenging and stressful the entire process of a divorce and custody battle can be, and we’re here to help. Our Fierce Advocates are dedicated to your cause and we the necessary experience to handle any divorce case, no matter how complicated the issues of you divorce.
When it comes to your children, you’ll do anything to keep them safe. We know how important your kids are to you, and that’s why we fight relentlessly on your behalf to get the most favorable outcome possible. Custody cases can be quite complex, and generally, the main deciding factor is where the child’s best interests will be served. However, if both parents are fit and able, how is custody decided? This is where the difficulty lies.
Look for an Experienced and Qualified Family Law Firm in Oklahoma City
As you already know, the first step to preparing for a custody battle in Oklahoma is to hire an experienced divorce lawyer that also specializes in child custody cases. It is never advisable to try and represent your children on your own in a custody battle. You need an experienced Oklahoma divorce lawyer with the skills and nerve to successfully navigate the courtroom and any legal issues. You need Cannon & Associates to fight for your children’s best interest.
In fact, going through a custody battle will most likely be one of the most challenging experiences in your life. That’s why it’s crucial to get a Oklahoma custody lawyer you can trust to handle your case professionally and with legal competency. Our experienced divorce and custody lawyers are dedicated to effectively communicating, working together with our clients, and ultimately advocating for them on their children’s behalf.
The Legal Standard in Oklahoma
The legal standard for custody cases in Oklahoma is called “best interest of the child.” This refers to a stable home and circumstances where the child’s needs will be best served. If you’re filing for sole custody, it’s critical to gather evidence that supports your case that it’s in your child’s best interest to live with you full time. Even if you’re filing joint custody and want to be the primary caretaker, it’s essential to show that you have a stable home and the best interest of your children will be served by living with you primarily.
How Does the Court Actually Decide Custody?
To decide the physical and legal custody of a child or children, the court and judge will look at several different factors in your Oklahoma custody case. That’s why it’s so crucial to have an experienced divorce lawyer there on your behalf—our team of Fierce Advocates can help prepare you for everything you need to know in handling your child custody cases. Some factors the court will look at include:
- Financial stability of both parents
- Each parent’s wishes and their mental health
- The quality of the child’s relationship with the parents
- The child’s relationship with extended family members
- Where they’re receiving education
- The child’s connection to the community
- Any abuse allegations or prior abuse by both parents
- Criminal records, if any of both parents
- Which parent is more involved
- Which home will provide a more stable environment
- Pre-existing parenting plans
Different Types of Custody
In Oklahoma, a few different types of custody can be filed for in a court of law. There are actually two aspects to a custody case: physical and legal. Many custody orders combine these terms into one and then refer to them as simply “custody.” Physical custody is where the child lives or sleeps at night, and legal custody concerns the parent’s rights to make important decisions about the child’s life, like medical decisions, schooling, religion, etc.
Though there’s the separation of physical and legal custody, there’s another step further: sole and joint custody. Sole legal custody means only one parent can make those crucial decisions, i.e. sole decision making authority. Joint legal custody means both parents can make these important decisions, which is often called joint decision making authority. The same goes for physical custody: sole is one parent and joint is both.
However, suppose one parent has sole custody. In that case, there will most likely be a visitation schedule worked out for the parent without custody, except for extreme cases where the second parent is unfit.
Prepare Yourself for In-Depth Questions
If you’re trying to show that your home is the better environment for your child or children, it’s vital to have solid evidence that proves your home is the better environment. The judge may ask to see things like financial statements, proof of income, any debt you have, bills, and will ask you in-depth questions about your home life. Be prepared to answer questions honestly and be open with the judge. While some of the questions they ask may frustrate you, it’s incredibly important not to let that show.
Emotions run strong when children are involved, and it can be hard to keep emotions in check at times. However, it’s vital that you do. Remember, the judge doesn’t know you. All they know is what you show and tell them. That’s why it’s crucial to keep your composure and always have a level head. We’ll be right there by your side to offer support and guidance through every step of the process.
Gather Pertinent Evidence
When preparing for a custody battle, it’s also important to gather any pertinent evidence. Maybe it’s phone records showing the other parent isn’t communicating well or evidence of drug use. It could be evidence of parental alienation, which is where one parent will keep the child from the father. Every case is different, but it’s vital to gather the evidence you need to support the claims you’re going to make in court, no matter the circumstances.
However, don’t worry, because that’s our job. Here at Cannon & Associates, we can help you gather the evidence you present the best case for the custody arrangement you want. Ultimately, we want what’s best for the child, and we will fight as hard as we can to ensure that your child ends up happy and healthy in a stable home environment.
Expect to Take Parenting Classes
Many of our clients here at Cannon & Associates wonder why they have to take parenting classes if they’re already a good parent and aren’t having any issues. However, this is something you should be prepared to encounter.
When a child’s parents separate, it can dramatically change their overall relationship with them. In an effort to mitigate the damage and effect of the impending changes on the children’s psychological wellbeing, parenting classes can help with this immensely. You may be experienced at parenting, but the law presumes you are not familiar with co-parenting after divorce and the court will require you to complete a parenting class.
Learn Useful Co-Parenting Skills and Gain Access to Resources
Most parenting classes will consist of seminars on many topics, including conflict management, proper child development, stable co-parenting, effective communication, and making sound financial decisions. They may seem tedious at first, but most parents come to appreciate the skills and tools they learn in these classes. Even if you learn just one thing that helps ease your child’s way in life, it benefits you. They can also provide you with a list of resources for help once the classes are over.
Here at Cannon & Associates, we have the skills and experience to help you navigate the turbulent waters of a child custody battle. Unfortunately, this will be a challenging time in your life, but that’s why we’re here—to make the process smoother and help you get a favorable outcome. We are Fierce Advocates for families and fight relentlessly on our client’s behalf because we care about them just like family. Call us at Cannon & Associates today to set up a free consultation or learn more about the areas we specialize in.