An uncontested divorce in Oklahoma might seem like a straightforward process. After all, if a couple can fill out the forms themselves, and don’t disagree over the division of property, parenting, alimony, or anything else, there shouldn’t be any problems — right?
Unfortunately, a divorce is rarely as simple as it might seem at first.
The Potential Complications of Divorce
Few couples realize just how many debts and assets they must divide. More importantly, parenting plans must last for years.
Vague or undefined agreements are sure to cause disagreements in the future. The disagreements can be taken to court, and your parenting rights can be restricted at that point (regardless of what agreements were made at the time of the divorce).
Fathers’ legal rights can be impacted in any divorce — whether or not it is contested.
These facts are why it is important to consult with an experienced Tulsa divorce attorney at the beginning of any divorce.
An Uncontested Divorce in Oklahoma Can Impact Your Parenting Rights
Even if the parents agree to share joint custody of the children, your legal rights as a father can be impacted by an uncontested divorce in Oklahoma.
Okla. Stat. tit. 43 § 112 requires the judge in any divorce case to make provisions for the guardianship, custody, medical care, support, and education of the children. If the parents have agreed to joint custody and outlined these matters in an uncontested divorce petition, the judge is likely to order the agreements.
But a few simple statements in an uncontested divorce petition can dramatically affect your parenting rights for years.
Consider the wide variety of decisions that are encompassed in the “guardianship, custody, medical care, support, and education” of the children. This involves every aspect of your children’s lives: what religion they will be raised in, what schools they will attend, what doctors they will see, what medications they take, what extracurricular activities they will participate in, whether they can get a driver’s license, and on and on.
These specific decisions are seldom addressed in a simple uncontested divorce petition. In such a case, parents who have agreed to joint custody must resolve disagreements themselves or take the matter to court. A court can then clarify the joint custody arrangements.
In some cases, this restricts a father’s ability to make legal decisions about his children or restricts the amount of time he can spend with them. These disagreements can be avoided by having a fathers’ rights attorney draft a strong, clear parenting plan at the beginning of a divorce. Later disputes will then be resolved by the parenting plan that both parties have agreed to. There will be no need to return to court, and no need to jeopardize either parent’s legal rights.
Schedule a Consultation with a Fathers’ Right Lawyer in Tulsa
Whatever the circumstances of your divorce, it is important to understand your legal rights. Doing so will help not only you protect your legal and financial interests, but more importantly, your parental rights as a father.
Call my office at (918) 986-7724 or contact me online.
Don’t wait until legal documents are finalized — meet with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights as a father.