Keeping Up Good Behavior Can Help Guarantee Custody
Video Transcribed: Hello, I am Jason Lile and I am a father’s rights attorney in Tulsa. And if you’ve listened to my previous videos, we have discussed why men might not fare well in court with custody and visitation on the line, and what to do about getting the best outcome when it comes to child support in court. The last thing I want to talk to you about at least in this video is how you get custody of your children.
In Oklahoma, it is the law that there shouldn’t be a preference for men or women, fathers or mothers, or one parent over the other with regard to their gender. That’s the starting point of the court. But a lot of men have the impression because that’s how it used to be, that there is a preference for a mother. That might be the case with very, very young children only with regard to feeding. But there’s a way around that. There is no longer what we used to call it a tender years doctrine in place, meaning just because it’s a little baby you shouldn’t have time with that baby as a man.
What you can do to make sure that you get joint legal custody, which is joint decision-making with the mother and equal time with that child, is to make sure that there is nothing in your life that would indicate to a judge that it’s not in that child’s best interest to have equal time with you and to have you make a decision maker. And that there is information about your life, where you live, where you’re employed, what’s your availability is, and what’s your experience parenting that child. Why it is that that judge should trust you to take care of that child if the mother’s been the primary caregiver just by virtue of your arrangement when you were together?
All of those things need to be effectively presented in court. Okay. So one of the things that a good attorney should do is to interview you about your life before the separation or the divorce is filed. What was your role in taking care of your child or your children? How were you involved? What can you do or are you doing to make sure that if your involvement was logistically less than the mother’s, how you can do that in the future?
The second thing is a good lawyer should advise you on what your behavior should be during the divorce so that you don’t do anything to lessen your opportunity to have equal time and equal decision-making power with your child or your children. That means keeping your nose clean. That means not changing jobs, for example. It means not incurring major financial obligations other than what’s necessary. It means potentially not bringing your girlfriend around your child or involving her in this process. You can’t be involving new significant others with your children right away. Things like that. That’s something that a good lawyer should be able to advise you on and how it might affect a judge’s decision to give you equal time and equal decision-making power with your children.
Lastly, you need to have a lawyer who can effectively present to you what your life is going to look like after the divorce or paternity case is finalized. What do I mean by that? Once again, where will you live? What will you do for a job and what will your income be? What kind of facilities and support structure do you have to raise this child? Many times it’s attempted to be used against my clients in court that they need help from family or friends.
Well, if a good lawyer knows that they can present that in court as a positive aspect of your life, you have a support structure. The reality is none of us parent children alone or shouldn’t. A good support structure should be a strength and it should be presented as such in court.
What classes have you taken? A good lawyer should know where you can do parenting classes. You can come into court prepared, the certificates of completion, and say, “I did all the required parenting classes, and here are some extra ones that I didn’t need to do.”
Look, many times in a divorce or a separation you’re being accused of having an excessive temper. Have you done anger management? Has the lawyer even spoken to you about that? So a good lawyer will advise you about what information he or she needs to represent you about, before your life, before the separation, during the divorce, or separation or paternity action, and after, and be able to present it well in court.
If you find yourself in need of a good divorce or paternity lawyer to help present that information effectively for you to make sure that you can be involved in your children’s lives in the way in which you want and deserve to be involved after the case is over, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Again, my name is Jason Lile and I am a child custody lawyer in the Northeastern Oklahoma area. I look forward to working with you.