When parents divorce in Wagoner, Oklahoma, they want to make sure that their children are well-cared for. As you move from one family unit to two, you may have questions about where they will live, who will have primary care of them, and how to make that all work.
Legally, the term “custody” refers to the parental rights, responsibilities and duties involved in the care of the children of the marriage. Custody of a child can be either physical or legal and it can also be either sole or joint. This article will focus on joint custody.
What is Joint Custody in Wagoner?
Joint custody means that parents continue to equally share the decisions, duties, and responsibilities involved in child rearing. Parental decisions can include those made regarding medicines, doctors, schools, and activities. Joint custody can be either physical or legal.
Physical custody refers to daily home life — where the child lives on a daily basis. Adjacent issues such as who takes the child to school, to the doctor, and to soccer practice, also fall into this general category.
Parents may agree on a parenting plan that allows the children to spend one week with one parent and the following week with the other parent. This week-on/week-off plan requires that both parents have sufficient space for the child to have a bedroom at both houses. The parents determine when and how to make the weekly exchange.
Both parents continue to be involved on an ongoing basis not only with the child, but also with schools, teachers, and the child’s friends.
Other divorcing parents opt for a “nesting” option. Children stay in the family home, and the parents take turns living in the family home on a regular interval to care for the children. This is much easier for the children involved, but doesn’t allow the parents as much autonomy from each other’s influence.
In contrast, when one parent retains sole physical custody, the child lives with that parent and the other parent retains visitation rights.
Legal custody refers to the parents’ rights and responsibilities regarding consent and decision-making. Children cannot legally give consent. A parent must do that instead.
In joint legal custody, both parents retain the right to make decisions regarding medical decisions, as well as issuing permission for school activities, field trips, and the like.
During the divorce process, you will be required to submit a parenting plan to the court for its approval. The plan must indicate how the parents will handle living arrangements and visitation, as well as school and doctor visits. It should also include a plan for the division of birthdays, holidays, and vacations between the parents.
What Factors Does A Wagoner Court Look to in Making a Joint Custody Determination?
A Wagoner court will always seek to make decisions that are in the best interests of the child. If parents can agree on the parenting plan, the court will often approve it.
If parents disagree, the court will look to a number of factors in making its custody determination, including the relationship between each parent and child, the physical ability of each parent to care for the child, and the presence or absence of such factors as substance abuse, child abuse, or any criminal activity or convictions on the part of the parents.
If the child is old enough, the court will also consider the child’s preferences.
Free Consultation: Wagoner Divorce Attorney
When your marriage plans unravel, get the best legal counsel available. Don’t go it alone. Get an experienced, reliable Wagoner divorce attorney on your side.
Contact the Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at 918-485-0335 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.