Couples often make an effort to stay together and raise their children in the same home but sometimes that isn’t possible. Even when parents can live together, they need to put the needs of their children first. This is the premise behind how courts determine child custody in Oklahoma. Although it may seem intuitive, many parents have a difficult time making their own parenting plan for their children. When parents fail to agree, courts are left to decide which arrangement is in the best interest of the couple’s children.
Work Together to Make a Plan
Instead of leaving these important family decisions up to a judge who doesn’t know their individual circumstances, parents have the option of creating their own plan. Judges actually prefer for parents to do this and present it to the court. Whether the parents are getting divorced or have never been married, it’s important to have a written plan in place to prevent any misunderstandings. Parents who are unable to do this on their own may negotiate a parenting plan with the help of their attorneys. The information at https://www.kanialaw.com/tulsa-law-info/child-custody-decisions-in-tulsa-family-court could help parents understand the law as it applies to child custody.
There is a lot at stake when it comes to child custody so neither parent should take it lightly. For example, a parent that has sole legal and physical custody may be able to relocate, making it difficult for the other parent to maintain a relationship with their children. When one parent has sole legal custody, they don’t have to consult the other parent when it comes to where their child goes to school, which extracurricular activities they participate in, or what religion they practice. Sole physical custody gives one parent control over when the other parent visits the children.
Joint Custody is the Preferred Arrangement
Joint custody not only gives both parents rights, it also ensures that both parents are able to have relationships with their children. This situation might not be ideal for the parents at the beginning when emotions are still high, but if they are able to put their children first, parents may find their children are happier and more well-adjusted than those who don’t have frequent interaction with both of their parents. While it may be possible to reestablish a relationship later, estrangement could confuse children and lead to them feeling like they are somehow responsible for their parents’ separation.
When courts make parenting plans, they typically follow a standard schedule. This schedule might include parenting time every other weekend and one day during the week. For parents who are accustomed to seeing their children every day, it may not be easy adjusting to having such little time with them. Parents that have irregular work schedules might spend even less time with their children. That is why it’s important for parents to work together to make a schedule that works for them and their unique situations. A schedule might take into account the children’s after-school activities, the parent’s work schedules, and times of the year when grandparents visit from out of town.