Whether you are going through a military, civilian, or high-net-worth divorce, the common denominator is that you have to dissolve and separate the life you created with your spouse. The moments after you realize you are getting divorced comes with concerns such as how you are going to survive financially, how to split the business you share with your spouse, and how much time you are going to get to spend with your kids when you and your spouse live in separate homes.
Though your situation is unique, it will share common elements with other divorce cases. Regardless of how complex your divorce may appear, the experienced and compassionate attorneys at Cannon & Associates will navigate you through equitably dividing your assets. (Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state which equates to your assets being divided “fairly” as opposed to an even 50/50 split.) Granted, this still leaves the issue of child custody. A basic internet search will explain that the court makes custody determinations based on the child’s best interest, so let’s take a closer look at what that means. You can read our free resource, the Father’s Divorce Survival Guide, which is available for download.
What Defines “Best Interest?”
The term may sound nebulous, but there are specific things that the court will consider before determining custody. One of the biggest concerns people have is that they are powerless regarding custody. The court will consider both your and your child’s wishes (if the child is 12 or older). It is important to remember that this will only factor into the court’s decision.
There is no set definition of what constitutes the child’s best interests. It is merely a compass heading to guide the court to make the right decision based on the information they are presented with. Still, the court will look at a series of factors before deciding.
What Factors Does the Court Consider During Custody Cases?
The court is going to look at the child’s life. For instance, they will want to know where the child is going to school, how well they are doing there, their friends, and what extracurricular activities they are involved with. Why are these important factors? Because the court could assess whether giving custody to one parent over the other will disrupt the child’s life. This also extends to the existing relationship that the child has with each parent.
Imagine that one parent is a full-time consultant, a job typically requiring significant travel. The other parent only worked part-time but was responsible for raising the child while their spouse was traveling for work. The former has every right to be in the child’s life (if they are a responsible and fit parent), but the child’s relationship with the latter may be stronger. None of these facts will conclusively lead to one parent getting custody over the other, but it could influence a decision.
Because we brought it up in the previous paragraph, it is important to establish that the parents’ past behavior and actions are factors. Here are some things that may harm you in a custody dispute:
- Having a history of domestic violence or child abuse.
- Having a substance abuse problem.
- Having associations or friendships with known felons or other people your spouse doesn’t want the child around.
- Having physical or mental health issues.
Even though the last bullet point is something you did not cause or choose, it can still impact your ability to raise a child.
Cannon & Associates: Your Fierce Advocates®
At Cannon & Associates, we understand that custody is one of the most complicated matters in family law. Though it is a complex process, you need a legal team who will advocate for your and your child’s best interests. We treat these matters as seriously as you do because they involve your child’s future. CALL US TODAY at 405-591-3935 to schedule your free case evaluation. We are Your Fierce Advocates® and subscribe to our YouTube channel for important criminal and family law tips.