When awarding custody, family courts in Oklahoma weigh the interest of the child, or children heavily. Unless there are mitigating circumstances, it is generally preferable to award custody jointly to both parents; this is in expectation of both parents acting in a manner that is conducive to providing a safe, and nurturing environment for their children, regardless of their disagreements.
When an initial agreement is reached by the parents, there still must be court approval. It is imperative that a preliminary custody agreement be in writing; this is to ensure if disputes arise later, there is a written record of the agreement. Oftentimes, parents are separated before a divorce and make agreements pertaining to where the children will live, who will be responsible for medical care expenses and reach agreements on visitation and support.
These initial agreements, prior to divorce, may be approved by the court, particularly if they are working well. I have seen the best intentions go awry when one parent refuses to abide by the terms of the original agreement. This can result in the court not approving an original agreement.
Once the courts in Tulsa County, Creek County, Wagoner County, Osage County, or Washington County have validated a custody agreement, it is in full force and effect. However, there are circumstances which may warrant modifying such an agreement. For example, in some cases, as children get older, they may wish to live with a noncustodial parent. One parent may be concerned about neglect, or abuse and wish to modify visitation and custody arrangements. There may also be problems if one parent accepts an out-of-state job and that parent has physical custody of the children. Any of these issues that arise could be a reason to consider filing a motion to modify custody.
Thanks to my extensive experience handling divorce and custody cases, I can help you with initial custody or modification of custody matters. Contact the Tulsa, Oklahoma office of Adam Carroll Legal, PC and let me help you through these challenging issues.