Here Are the Three Types of Custody and How They Can Help You
Video Transcribed: Hello, I’m Jason Lile, and I am the Tulsa father’s rights attorney here for Northeastern Oklahoma. And I wanted to talk to you about something that comes up at the very earliest part of either a paternity or a divorce case involving children. And that is you need to have a basic understanding of custody. We use that word, but lawyers use it differently than most normal people.
There are three types in Oklahoma. The first one is legal custody. Legal custody simply refers to decision-making, and you need to understand that the judges in Oklahoma and family law cases have a priority, and that is that you co-parent with the other parent of your child or children. That means that you should be making decisions together.
Now, if you cannot or will not make decisions together because the relationship has deteriorated to the point that you’re saying you cannot or will not make decisions with that person, then you need to understand that you’re forcing the judge to make one of a couple of choices, to either make you co-parent and give you a parenting coordinator, which is a third party you pay out of pocket to babysit you, basically, to be a referee. And the second is to choose between you and the other parent as far as legal custody goes.
The judge under Oklahoma law is supposed to choose the parent who has demonstrated they’re better at encouraging a relationship with the other parent. So if you’ve been at war with that parent or if she’s been at war with you, it might not be the person who’s propagating that war, so to speak.
The second kind of custody is physical custody. That is the same thing in Oklahoma as visitation. The default or the starting point is 50/50, but there are lots of things that can change that or move that needle off. How far apart do you live from one another? What is your job situation? What’s your availability? Are there any issues of domestic violence? So in order to preserve your right to 50/50 time with your child or children, you need an experienced family law lawyer to consider that case from the beginning as to how you can best present your case in court.
And the third kind is a little bit confusing. It’s something that family law lawyers use to do years ago just call the person with the most overnights, the primary physical custodian. For legal purposes now, after an Oklahoma Supreme Court case, the primary physical custodian is significant in two ways. It’s typically the person with the most overnights, but more importantly, in Oklahoma, there’s a relocation statute that says that if you relocate more than 70 miles away from where you currently live or out of the jurisdiction, which, in this case, is the county where your original case was, you have some obligations under the law to notify the other parent. And they’re very specific. And if you violate those obligations, and don’t fulfill them, there’s a very specific consequence.
So if you’re going to move or if you’re going to decide during your divorce or paternity case who the primary physical custodian is, then you need an experienced family law lawyer to help you with that.
If you have any questions about that or you need a consultation with this or any other legal issue, please feel free to contact me, Jason Lile, a child custody lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma. My contact information can be found at tulsafathersrights.lawyer or Dads.Law and I’d be happy to consult with you.