Whether the parents were married to each other or not, child custody is always one of the biggest family law issues outside of divorce. Ideally, the parents should be able to consider the best interests of their children and come up with suitable child custody arrangements on their own.
However, this doesn’t always happen and a family court judge must decide child custody for them. Here is a bit of information on how child custody is decided in Wagoner County.
Types of Child Custody in Wagoner County
There are generally two types of child custody:
Legal custody; and
Physical custody pertains to where the child actually sleeps, while legal custody pertains to which parent will have the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare and upbringing.
Mothers are almost 5 times more likely to have physical custody of the children than fathers. However, when physical custody is given to the mother, the father almost always receives court-ordered visitation rights that must be honored by both parents.
Today, it is generally believed that it is in the best interest of the child to have both parents involved in his or her life, both legally and physically. Thus, it is increasingly common for courts to award the parents joint custody of their children whenever possible. Oklahoma also allows for joint custody in the following manner:
Under joint “physical” custody the children live part-time with each parent. This does not mean that the time spent between the parents is equal, but that both parents have frequent physical time with the children.
Under joint “legal” custody one parent may be given physical custody of the children, while the other only enjoys visitation rights. Both parent however have an equal voice in the major decisions regarding the children’s welfare.
Deciding Child Custody in Wagoner County
Only a judge can issue a Wagoner County child custody order. But if the parents can come to an agreement that is fair and reasonable, it will usually be approved by the court. On the other hand, if the issue remains contentious, the court will make arrangements in the “best interest of the children.”
In making this determination, the court will factor in such things as:
The health and age of the parents.
The age, health and sex of the children.
The parents’ individual incomes.
The parents’ individual lifestyles.
The relationship the children have with each parent.
The wishes of all parties concerned, including the children.
After all factors are considered, if neither parents stands out as a more likely candidate for child custody than the other, the judge will award custody to the parent who it believes will provide a more stable environment for the children.
Free Consultation: Wagoner Child Custody Attorney
An experienced Wagoner child custody attorney can help you decide which custody arrangement will be in your family’s best interest, and aid you in seeking a modification of previous child custody orders.
For a free consultation with a Wagoner, Oklahoma divorce attorney call the Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at (918) 485-0335 (or toll-free at (888) Wirth-Law). Or, as always, you may enter a legal question in the form at the top right of this page.