Our society is increasingly mobile and for divorcing spouses with children, mobility can cause real complications regarding child custody in Wagoner, Oklahoma. The real issue in these cases is that of jurisdiction.
Normally, if the spouses and the children all live in Wagoner, the Wagoner court will retain jurisdiction over the children of the divorce until they turn 18.
So what happens when the parents move elsewhere? What court retains jurisdiction? Here are some answers.
Jurisdiction for Child Custody in Wagoner
Recognizing the difficulties that relocation can cause, Oklahoma and most other states adhere to laws that provide reciprocity between jurisdictions in custody cases. Oklahoma uses the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 551-101
In determining the appropriate jurisdiction for child custody matters, the court that you are filing in will look at the answers to several questions including where the child is living and where other custody orders, if any, are already filed. This analysis can take you out of state or just into a neighboring county.
Initial Custody Determination
If you are filing for an initial child custody in Wagoner determination, and your spouse lives elsewhere, the court will look at some of the following factors to see if it should keep jurisdiction.
The four principles or tests to confer jurisdiction are: the child’s home state or county; a significant connection between state/county and parties to a child custody dispute; the granting of emergency jurisdiction if the child is present and that child’s welfare is threatened; and the lack of another, better jurisdiction.
The two most important factors are whether the child lives in that jurisdiction and if not, if there is a significant connection between the child and that jurisdiction.
A Wagoner court will maintain jurisdiction if the child lived in that jurisdiction on the date that the Petition for Divorce was filed. So if you and your child live in Wagoner and the other parent lived out of state on the date the petition is filed, the Wagoner court will likely keep jurisdiction.
Likewise, the Wagoner court will likely keep jurisdiction if Oklahoma was the home state of the child for the six months before the first filing, even if the child is absent from this state, if a parent or guardian continues to live in the state.
A Wagoner court can also take initial jurisdiction if no other state has exerted “home state” jurisdiction. It will also keep jurisdiction if Wagoner, Oklahoma is a more convenient forum to hear the case.
This may be because the child has significant relationships within that jurisdiction. Often, key witnesses may be within the jurisdiction, even if the child no longer lives within it. So, teachers, grandparents, and siblings, can all have an impact regarding child custody in Wagoner.
If the courts of more than one jurisdiction meet the tests above, then the courts will confer and decide what jurisdiction would provide the best forum for custody, support, and visitation matters.
Once decided, jurisdiction will remain in that court until the child turns 18 or it is determined that either the parent or child no longer retains a significant connection with the state or they no longer reside in that state.
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.
Call Wirth Law Office – Wagoner at 918-485-0335 today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.