Divorce in Oklahoma City can be complex. Among the many decisions that must be made are those relative to your children, including which parent they’ll live with and how often the other parent will get visitation. To ensure your voice is heard throughout this process, you need the guidance of a qualified divorce lawyer: someone who will assess the facts and advocate on your behalf. Whether you decide that we are the right Fierce Advocates for you or not, we hope this information will help you in the process.
Why You Need an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Custody Battles
After a thorough review of your case, an attorney can develop a strategy for moving forward. Perhaps you have a better chance of achieving your custody goals by negotiating with the other parent rather than going to court. Or maybe a judge does need to step in and make a decision. In either situation, your attorney will know the custody laws and can formulate a plan early in the divorce process, before a decree is signed.
A Presentation of Facts
In Oklahoma City (and throughout the state of Oklahoma), the courts make custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. Many factors are considered – including the mental and physical health of both parents, the parent that has been primarily involved with the child’s upbringing to this point, and the ability of each parent to be responsible for the child.
This means your lawyer will need to deliver relevant facts to the judge to aid his or her decision. Only an experienced professional can do this in a way that resonates with the court and also represents your side of the story. Attempting to do this yourself or with an inexperienced family law attorney at your side can irreparably harm your chances of being heard.
Provide an Impartial Point of View
Although the lawyer you hire will fight for you, he or she will interact with the court in a cool and professional manner. You, on the other hand, likely have strong feelings about the terms of your custody arrangement and may be unable to speak dispassionately to the judge. For instance, many people want to blame their former partners for the marriage breakdown, but judges care little about relationship specifics unless they impact the children.
A lawyer will ask you questions and, based on your answers, choose which details are most important to your case. He or she will then develop an argument that highlights your specific concerns and moves forward your requests. By framing your case in a clear and concise way, your lawyer shows respect for the court and increases your chances of getting the custody arrangement you desire.
Pay Attention to Details
Many aspects of custody get overlooked in favor of the bigger picture. Parents often want to know who gets the kids on what days and who makes major decisions. But what happens when both parents disagree on extracurricular activities, summer vacations, and which school their child should attend? Ignoring details like these leave you vulnerable to arguments with your ex-spouse, which is both counterproductive and harmful to children.
Your lawyer, however, will consider these points and ensure answers are provided in the divorce process, including the custody plan and divorce decree. When the custody plan does not clearly address potential down falls or problems in your custody case, it can cause you mental and financial harm in the future. In many instances these disagreements result in parties returning to court to fight over details of the custody plan. Considering the custody arrangement from all possible angles now will make co-parenting easier in the future and help you protect yourself from disputes down the road.
Navigate Court Proceedings in Oklahoma City
Your lawyer will prepare considerably for every court proceeding. This includes gathering witnesses who can testify to facts and collecting evidence like:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Text messages
- Email correspondence
- Aids to the Court
This due diligence makes simple work of presenting your case to the court. It also substantiates your own claims. And in the midst of this organization, a lawyer will also consider the tendencies of the family law judge assigned to your case. Experience teaches a lawyer the points that are important to a particular family law judge. An experienced Oklahoma divorce lawyer will keep these in mind and use them to your help in your case.
Understand Parenting Guidelines
Every local court uses established parenting guidelines to make custody decisions. These guidelines also provide a roadmap to lawyers and parents so they understand those options the court will consider when ruling on custody. This knowledge can help prepare you for an outcome in your case and keep you informed throughout the divorce process. We encourage you to visit other portions of our website for videos and information on what Oklahoma family law judges consider.
Focus on Resolution
An inexperienced divorce attorney may waste your money on litigation that won’t help your case move toward resolution. But a skilled professional will put you and your children first. This ensures the time spent on your case is smart, which the court will additionally recognize and appreciate.
Reject Delay Tactics
A knowledgeable divorce attorney will recognize when the other parent and his or her attorney are trying to delay court proceedings. This is a tactic used to prevent your financial gain, prolong the outcome, or simply be difficult. Your lawyer should continue to push forward to settle custody issues in a way that protects your interests and is also in the best interest of the child.
In this same vein, your Oklahoma City divorce lawyer will help manage your expectations. Even with vast experience, an attorney should never promise or guarantee specific results. Nobody can predict how the judge will ultimately rule. What your lawyer can do is review different outcomes with you, as mentioned earlier, so you feel prepared for the court’s decision.
Provide Constant Communication
A well-trained lawyer will communicate with you regularly so you’re aware of any recent developments in your case. Likewise, you should always feel comfortable initiating contact when you have questions or feel uncertain about a decision. You and your family are the most important elements of any divorce case; it is therefore imperative you have access to your lawyer when you need it.
You aren’t the only person your lawyer will routinely communicate with during your case. A complex divorce case with extensive custody issues and property and financial interests will require your attorney to collaborate with outside sources. He or she will meet with subject-matter experts who can answer questions about topics like childcare and well-being. This allows them to support arguments with proven data and build the strongest case possible.
Work with the Opposing Side
Many people envision opposing lawyers immediately going to battle against each other, but they also work together to more expediently resolve custody cases. You can therefore expect your attorney to exchange information with opposing counsel and amicably negotiate custody and settlement arrangements. However, you want a Fierce Advocate on your side, if negotiations break down.
Settle Child Support Payments
Your lawyer will not only fight to protect your rights as a parent but also settle the question of child support. The parent who spends the most overnights with children typically receives child support payments.
Those payments are not calculated at random, but rather based on income, need, and many other factors. Regular expenses, as well as unexpected costs, must also be considered. Some parents try to negotiate payment amounts and intervals themselves, but to ensure child support is fair for your situation, your lawyer will provide concrete figures to the court.
Choosing to file for divorce is a big step, one that will significantly impact you and your children. This is why choosing the right divorce attorney is so important. We will help you manage the road ahead and present your case to the court. We’ll also fight for your rights and protect the interests of your children. To schedule your free and confidential consultation today, contact Cannon & Associates, PLLC.