Child custody is without a doubt the single most contentious family law issue caused by divorce. There are basically two forms of child custody in Tahlequah, Oklahoma:
- Physical custody; and
- Legal custody.
Read further to find out the difference between physical and legal custody in Tahlequah.
The Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody in Tahlequah
The parent with physical custody is the parent in whose household the child actually resides, whereas the parent with legal custody is the parent who has the legal authority to make decisions regarding the child’s welfare and upbringing.
Mothers are approximately five times more likely to be granted physical custody of their children than fathers. Having said that, when physical custody is awarded to the mother, the father just about always receives court-ordered visitation rights that must be honored by both parents. Legal custody in Tahlequah is most often shared jointly between the parents.
Presently, it is generally thought that it is in the best interests of children to have both parents involved with his or her life, both legally and physically. Thus, it is increasingly common for courts to award the parents joint custody of their children as often as possible. Oklahoma provides for joint custody in the following ways.
With joint “physical” custody, the children live part time with one parent, then part time with the other. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the amount of time spent between the parents is equal, but that both parents have frequent physical time with the children.
With joint “legal” custody, one parent might be given physical custody of the children, while the other only enjoys visitation rights. Both parents, however, enjoy an equal say in the major decisions regarding the children’s welfare.
Determining Child Custody in Tahlequah
No one other than a judge can issue a child custody order. But if the parents can arrive at an agreement that is fair and reasonable and submit it to the court, it will usually be approved by the judge. However, if the parents cannot come to a fair and reasonable arrangement on their own, the judge will make the arrangements for them, in light of what he or she believes to be in the “best interests of the children.”
In making this determination, the judge will weigh various factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The health and age of the parents.
- The age, health, and gender 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.
If after all things are considered, neither parent stands out as a more likely candidate for physical custody than the other, the judge will award physical custody to the parent whom he or she believes will provide a more stable environment for the children.
Free Consultation: Tahlequah Family Law Attorney
We’re here to listen to your many questions as you deal with family law issues such as child custody, child support, and divorce.
For a free initial consultation, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677.
If you prefer written correspondence, you may also send your legal question using the form at the top right of this page.