Grounds for Modifying a Child Custody Order in Oklahoma
Child custody matters are extremely stressful and emotional for both parents and children. Regardless of whether parents have recently divorced, or were never married in the first place, custody issues have an enormous impact on children. Many children are confused by the process and may have trouble adapting to a new living situation. No matter how contentious a divorce or breakup is, the most important element of resolving custody matters is the child involved. All differences between the parents must be set aside when evaluating what custody arrangement will be in the best interest of the children.
How Family Court Judges Make Child Custody Decisions in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, family court judges look at a variety of factors to determine which parent the child or children should primarily live with, and what parent should or should not have visitation rights. Such factors include, but certainly are not limited to, the following:
1. The nature and duration of the relationship between each parent and the child(ren);
2. The child's wishes, if he or she is old enough to make the decision regarding which parent to live with;
3. Each parent's income and job security (i.e., how long each parent has been employed and the likelihood that the employment will continue);
4. Where each parent lives;
5. What the child's current living situation is, and where he or she attends school;
6. Where each parent intends to live;
7. The mental and physical health of each parent (i.e., whether or not there is a history of drug or alcohol abuse, and whether or not a parent has a medical or physical limitation that may make it difficult to raise the child(ren);
8. Whether or not a parent has a history of being verbally or physically abusive to the other parent and/or the child(ren).
After evaluating the above-listed factors in addition to many more, depending upon the particular circumstances of each custody matter, the Oklahoma family court judge will make the custody decision that will allow the child or children to live in the safest environment possible that will not result in a significant change in the child's current living situation. Many custody arrangements do work out for both parents and the children involved, however, there are times when an existing custody arrangement should be modified.
Modifying a Child Custody Order in Oklahoma - Change in Circumstances
There are numerous reasons why an Oklahoma child custody order should be modified. Life is not predictable and anything can happen at any time that may make an existing custody arrangement unsafe for the child or children involved. Situations that may result in the modification of a child custody order include, but are not limited to, the following:
1. Abusive behavior that creates an unsafe environment for the child(ren);
2. One parent becomes physically incapacitated after suffering an injury or illness;
3. One parent loses his or her job and is no longer able to financially provide for the child(ren);
4. One parent decides to move far away, materially changing the exiting custody arrangement;
The child or children are old enough to decide which parent they would rather live with. It takes a significant change to convince an Oklahoma family court judge that an existing child custody order should be modified. There must be a change in circumstances that significantly alters the child's or children's current living situation. The most important thing is to ensure the child or children remain in as stable of a situation as possible. An extreme amount of change can be traumatic for many children. As such, it is essential to make every effort to ensure your children are in an environment that will allow for healthy growth. An Oklahoma Child Custody Attorney can help you seek the modification of an existing child custody order to make sure your children stay safe.
Phiilip Sanger is a prolific writer for family law and Tulsa divorce law topics. His writings are found on family law and divorce blogs and websites. He writes in an easy to understand way designed to make non-attorneys understsnd family law issues.