If movies and TV shows get one thing right about divorce, it’s that determining child custody is one of the most difficult aspects of ending a marriage, separating and ending a domestic partnership, or even just establishing parentage between an unmarried couple. It can be overwhelming for both parents and children to work through such a major change in their family relationships.
The Norwood Law Firm Approach to Child Custody Cases in Oklahoma
At Norwood Law Firm, we keep you and your children’s best interests in mind through the entire child custody process. We know that custody cases are emotional, sensitive, and private. Our approach of mediation first, and strong litigation with care if necessary is focused on maintaining your relationships with your children and protecting your rights as a parent.
Our team has the expertise needed to find equitable compromises in mediation that protect your rights and represent your best interests. And we know that mediation can save you and your children the stress of a court hearing, and provide a more timely and cost-effective solution than a court judgement. If you and the other parent agree on most of the terms of child custody and support, mediation will provide the quickest and most amiable resolution.
However, we know that mediation doesn’t always work. If parents don’t agree on terms for custody, strong litigation is required. When a court resolution is required, you can count on the Norwood Law Firm team to handle your case with strength and care. Our expert attorneys will stand by you through the court process to represent your parental rights and work to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Child Custody
At Norwood Law Firm in Tulsa, we know that when it comes to child custody, parents have some big decisions to make and they likely have a lot of questions. Our team of experienced attorneys will work with you to answer any questions you have and keep the best interest of you and your children in mind throughout the entire divorce or custody process. Here are a few of the most common questions we get about child custody cases.
How do courts determine which parent gets custody of their children?
In an ideal case, parents and their lawyers work together in child custody mediation to achieve a fair and equitable custody arrangement. If parents are able to come to a joint decision, a judge will likely approve that agreement and finalize it as a court order.
If parents and their lawyers cannot come to an agreement about custody and visitation rights and schedules, then the case will go to court and the custody agreement will be decided by a judge. In child custody litigation, the court uses a standard that puts the best interest of the child at the forefront of the custody decision. With that in mind, the custody decision will depend on a number of factors including, the child’s age and health, the parents’ physical and mental health, emotional bonds between each parent and the child, a parent’s ability to provide food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other necessities, and even the child’s preference if they are 12 years old or older. Issues like any history of domestic violence or other dangerous behavior will also have a significant role in a court’s decision to award custody to one parent over another.
In some cases, parents or a judge may request or appoint a Guardian Ad Litem. This specific, short-term guardianship gives the child in a custody case a dedicated legal advocate. A Guardian Ad Litem will make recommendations regarding the custody arrangement and work to determine the child’s best interests.
What is the difference between sole custody and joint custody?
During either mediation or litigation, custody can be divided among parents in multiple ways. In every case, custody agreements include determining both physical and legal custody of a child. Physical custody refers to which parent a child will live with and will take care of them day-to-day. Legal custody refers to which parent will have the right to make important decisions about raising the child, such as their medical care, education, and religious participation.
Custody arrangements divide the legal custody and physical custody based on the child’s needs and your family circumstances. One parent may have sole physical custody, meaning the child lives with one parent full time while the other parent has child visitation rights, and sole legal custody so they are the only parent able to make long-term legal decisions regarding their child. Or one parent may have sole physical custody, but legal custody may be shared between the parents as joint legal custody. Parents may have both joint physical custody and joint legal custody, so the child will live with both parents on an agreed-upon schedule (such as spending three nights a week at one parent’s home and four nights at the other parent’s house) and parents will have equal decision-making rights regarding their children.
Often, there is a preference for joint custody, but the ultimate custody decision will be determined by the parents and the court based on what is best for the children involved.
Can child custody arrangements be modified?
Circumstances change in families, and those changes in circumstance may necessitate a modification to your child custody arrangement. If the current custody order is no longer in the child’s best interest, then parents can petition to modify and update custody orders. An experienced custody attorney from Norwood Law Firm in Tulsa will be able to help you determine if there are grounds to modify your family’s custody arrangement.
The Tulsa Attorneys Who Care about You and Your Family
At Norwood Law Firm, our team of caring and thorough attorneys know the difficulties of child custody cases in and out. Whatever your situation, personal and family needs, our experienced team will strongly represent you and your interests with personal care for your needs and circumstances. If you are going through a divorce, seeking custody of a child, or you are seeking modifications to child custody agreements, Norwood Law Firm in Tulsa can help.
Contact us today for a free consultation.