Father’s Guide to Child Custody in Oklahoma
Fight for Custody of Your Children
CANNON & ASSOCIATES is dedicated to Fierce Advocacy for fathers facing Dissolution of Marriage, Divorce; Child Custody, and Child Support issues in state courts in central Oklahoma. It is crucial you contact an experienced Oklahoma Family Law Attorney, if you are a father facing Divorce or Child Custody issues. You need a Fierce Advocate to defend your rights and your time with your children, if you are facing a Contested Divorce in Oklahoma.
Often father’s contact my Firm after they have suffered under misconceptions of child custody. Unfortunately, fathers often move out of the marital home and only see their children at the discretion of the mother until a judge enters the divorce decree. This is a mistake, you as a father have equal right to time and a relationship with your children. You as a father have a legal right to contact your children’s school for information; to attend any school or extracurricular event; and to speak to your child’s pediatrician at any time!
Father Misconceptions in Child Custody
The Majority of fathers believe the misguided assumption that mothers have superior rights to time with their children. The best interest of the child is the governing principle in child custody cases and equal time with a child’s mother and father is the presumption. Many fathers suffer from misconceptions about Child Custody in Oklahoma. The following are FACTS:
- Mothers do not always win custody
- Gender bias in prohibited in Family Law Courts
- Children need fathers as much as mothers
You will never know, if gender bias exists in the courtroom of the family law judge deciding your case, unless you Fight for Your Right to be part of your children’s lives. You need a Fierce Advocate, if you desire equal time or more time with your children than their mother. DO NOT hire an attorney, until you find one that will be your Fierce Advocate for child custody.
Ten Tips for Fathers Seeking Child Custody
The following is a list of wise action to take, if you are a father seeking joint custody, sole custody, or extended visitation with your children in a divorce or paternity case in Oklahoma. Gender bias is prohibited in Oklahoma divorce and child custody cases; however, the facts of life with a worker father can lead to inherent bias, if you do not take the necessary steps to protect your custody interest. The following is a list of Ten To Do Tips for Fathers in Oklahoma seeking custody of their children:
ONE: Stand up for Yourself
Do not let your wife or the mother of your children dictate when, where, how often, or how long you will see your children after separation, but prior to your divorce being finalized. You have equal rights to your children until a Court Order states otherwise. Document, document, document, every time and exactly how your wife, the mother of your child, prohibits you from seeing/spending time with your children and use this information when you appear before the family law judge in your case.
TWO: Find your Fierce Advocate
Not all attorneys are equal. Do your research and hire an experienced family law attorney to help you fight for custody in your case. File pleadings pro se, if you are unable to afford an attorney, to seek equal time with your children.
THREE: Don’t Listen to Noise
Ignore the tirades and complaints of father that have failed to fight for or have fought and lost the battle of equal time with their children in divorce. You will always be able to find an example of someone failing and that person is often more than willing to voice their complaints to the whole world! The fact a father before you lost custody in their Oklahoma divorce or custody case, does not mean you cannot win equal time in your custody case. No father-child relationship is the same. You need to demonstrate the importance of your relationship with your children early and powerfully to the family law judge in your case.
Listen to your heart as it relates to the custody of your children and the time you spend with them. No one set schedule is best for every father or every situation. Only you know what is best for your schedule and your time with your children. Ignore the negative noise and those who have come before you. Act based on your heart, within reason, as it relates to child custody.
FOUR: Child Custody Cases are Expensive
Do not allow the expense of hiring an experienced family law and child custody attorney keep you from fighting for custody of your children. Many fathers fail to hire an experienced child custody attorney, because they are worried about the long term costs they will face with the rest of their responsibilities; however, the time you spend with your children is the most important thing you can provide your children as a father. Do not sacrifice the opportunity to hire a Fierce Advocate in your Oklahoma child custody case for fear of the expense.
FIVE: Do not Simply Agree to Your Wife’s Request
Your wife will most likely immediately begin attempting to enforce the custody and visitation schedule she believes is in the “best interest of the children” or that best fits her schedule, but don’t give in! Until a family law judge with competent jurisdiction orders otherwise; you are entitled to equal time and access to your children. The schedule you agree to or go along with early on may be the schedule you must live with for years to come, if your wife or her attorney can show the judge it is working out for the children. Don’t give in, fight for your time with your children.
SIX: Take Care of Your Responsibilities
Whether Court Ordered or informally agreed to, you should make child support payments during the divorce process as soon as you separate from your wife, unless you have the children for the majority of the time, in which case your wife should provide you child support. The right to child support is possessed by your children, not your spouse.
You do not have to continue to love or act like you love your wife during divorce; however, you must be respectful to her; when speaking about her; and always when speaking about her in earshot of your children. Judges often draw an analogy between how fathers treat their separated spouse and how they will treat their children when alone with them.
Family law judges in Oklahoma do not look kindly upon any parent that does not take care of his/her responsibilities. Whether formal or informal it is crucial you maintain records of your child support payments, such as: check receipts, letter/text messages/emails from the child’s mother, etc. Any record will do, as long as it is sufficiently detailed, but no record of child support payments may result in the judge not believing your assertion of making child support payments.
SEVEN: Maintain Strong Bonds with Your Kids
Stay connected and plugged into your child’s life during the divorce process, including: school, doctors, extracurricular activities, and any other important activity in your child’s life. Unless the Court Orders/you have agreed otherwise, you should call or FaceTime your child everyday he/she is not in your custody. Preferably you will setup a schedule with the mother for everyone’s benefit.
Attend every important school, team, or social gathering you can for your children during separation and the divorce process. Maintaining and documenting a strong and continual relationship with your child is crucial for fathers seeking custody of their children. It will be painful and awkward to be at events with your spouse after separation, but the alternative of not being there for your child is far worse for you, for them, and to the judge.
EIGHT: Make a Home for Your Children
Often fathers move out of the marital home during the divorce process, however, you are NOT legally obligated to leave the marital home. The family law judge deciding custody in your case will inquire at every important step about the adequacy of living accommodations for your children in your home during the divorce. You must make a special place for your children in your new home.
Important factors include, but are not limited to the following: a sufficient/safe bed or crib for each child, dependent upon their age; clothing for each child in your new home, you are entitled to take clothes from the marital home for each child; toys for each child; lovies, sleep items, for each child, again you can take a fair share of these items from the marital home; some of your child’s favorite foods.
Babies take more time, energy, and supplies than older children. In child custody cases involving a baby you will need at least the following items in your new home: car seat/booster seat for your child; diapers/pullups in sufficient number; baby wipes; baby food or formula; and a safe crib/appropriate bed.
NINE: Make a Journal
Fathers often operate in a different way than mothers regarding the details in the lives of their children. The fact you cannot recall the names of pediatricians, coaches, teachers, and other children in your child’s class does not mean you love your child less than the child’s mother; however, the details are very important. Family law judges in child custody cases expect fathers to know this information and much more about the lives of their children. I recommend clients, both fathers and mothers, keep a journal of all the important information and schedule of their children’s lives.
Some parents, especially fathers, worry a Child Custody Journal will make them look bad to the judge deciding child custody; however, the truth is the exact opposite! A father that has taken the time to buy a journal, organize the issues, and detail all the important activities in each aspect of their child’s life will be a model candidate for equal child custody or potentially even more. It is a rare and impressive occurrence when a father takes the time to record and learn this information.
TEN: Don’t Not Take on More than You can Handle
Be true to yourself and the circumstances of your life, your work, and your time. It will only hurt your relationship with your children, if you get more time with child by Court Order than you can honestly handle. Multiple factors including work and other children affect the amount of time and responsibility one father can have for one child. It is better for your mental health and your children, if the time you have with them you can be present with them. It is okay to begin the process seeking equal time and later realizing you cannot honestly handle that time commitment with all your other responsibilities. Your children will know how much you love them by the way you spend time with them, not the amount of time you have custody.
No attorney can accurately forecast the outcome of your specific Oklahoma child custody or divorce case; however, you have no chance of winning what you want, if you don’t fight for what is important to you, time with your kids.
Full custody can be difficult for fathers to win, despite Oklahoma law requiring and family court judges enforcing fair treatment of fathers. Fathers sometimes face an uphill battle when it comes to custody and support in Oklahoma divorce and custody cases due to the realities of their work schedules and other responsibilities. It is my hope this page has answered some of your questions regarding Father’s Rights in Oklahoma divorce, if not please contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES for a free consultation on your case.
Experience matters when child custody and time with your children is on the line. It is important to know the attorney you hire is the attorney handling your case and experienced in fighting for Father’s Rights in Oklahoma. John Cannon, owner of CANNON & ASSOCIATES, PLLC, will personally represent you, work along-side you during the entire process, and keep you informed. John has the experience you need and will bring it to bear in your case. Additionally, he has an outstanding record of reaching the best possible outcome for hundreds of clients, evidenced by receiving the highest possible AVVO rating – 10 (superb). Contact CANNON & ASSOCIATES to protect your child custody rights and fight your case. You may send an email inquiry, complete the contact form on our website, or call at (405) 657-2323 for a free confidential consultation.
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