Oklahoma Child Custody & Oklahoma Child Support
Oklahoma courts, like family courts in all states, encourage parents to work together on an agreement for raising their children after a divorce, particularly because such agreements are usually reflective of the best interests of the children. If the parents are unable to agree outside of court, Oklahoma courts will step in to decide such issues as child custody, child support, and visitation rights, and will do so with the best interests of the children in mind. The following are the laws governing Oklahoma child custody and support.
Oklahoma Child Custody:
Oklahoma courts determine all custody issues in terms of the best interests of the children. The court will consider all relevant facts and give the father and mother the same consideration regardless of the child’s sex or age. Both sole custody and joint custody are possibilities. As part of this determination, the court will consider such factors as:
- The child’s wishes (if s/he is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent preference),
- The results of any investigation (upon showing of good cause) into the care and welfare of the parties’ minor children,
- Evidence concerning which parent is more likely to allow the noncustodial parent continuing contact with the child, and
- The occurrence of any family violence.
Oklahoma Child Support:
Child support in Oklahoma is determined in accordance with the Income Shares Model for child support, where each parent's income is considered in relative proportion. The support amounts calculated from each parent then help decide which parent must pay the other in order to maintain the correct proportion and provide for the needs of the child.
These guidelines are not always followed, but a decision to follow a different standard will require supportive evidence showing 1) all the factors that affect the parties financial obligations differently, and 2) how applying a standard other than the Income Shares Model will more effectively preserve the best interests of the child.
The factors that can be considered here are numerous, and include but are not limited to the following:
- Pre-dissolution or pre-separation standard of living that the child enjoyed
- Monetary support provided for other family members
- Debts arising during the marriage for the child's benefit
- Imputed income to a party who is voluntarily unemployed for the child's benefit
- Court-ordered payments for health care and education for the child's benefit
- Children's independent financial resources, if any
- Education, training, and/or career opportunities of the parties and/or ability to pursue those things
A lawyer can help you sort through your rights and responsibilities when it comes to raising your kids after a divorce, and can also serve as your advocate and/or counsel when negotiating a parenting agreement. You can find a lawyer at:
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