The following is a summary of Oklahoma child custody laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Oklahoma Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Best Interest of Child.

It is the policy of the state of Oklahoma to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. In awarding the custody of a minor child, the court shall consider what appears to be in the best interests of the physical and mental and moral welfare of the child. There shall be neither a legal preference nor a presumption for or against joint legal custody, joint physical custody, or sole custody.

When awarding custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other facts, which parent is more likely to allow the child or children frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent, and shall not prefer a parent as a custodian of the child because of the gender of that parent. Except for good cause shown, a pattern of failure to allow court-ordered visitation may be determined to be contrary to the best interests of the child.

-From Sections §43-109 through 43-112.

Preference of Child.

In any action or proceeding in which a court must determine custody or limits of or period of visitation, the child may express a preference as to which of its parents the child wishes to have custody. The court shall determine whether the best interest of the child will be served by the child’s expression of preference as to which parent should have custody or limits of or period of visitation rights of either parent. If the court so finds, the child may express such preference or give other testimony.

If the child is of a sufficient age to form an intelligent preference, the court shall consider the expression of preference or other testimony of the child in determining custody or limits of or period of visitation. The court shall not be bound by the child’s choice and may take other facts into consideration in awarding custody or limits of or period of visitation. However, if the child is of a sufficient age to form an intelligent preference and the court does not follow the expression of preference of the child as to custody, or limits of visitation, the court shall make specific findings of fact supporting such action if requested by either party. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that a child who is 12 years of age or older is of a sufficient age to form an intelligent preference.

-From Section §43 113 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Denial of Visitation, Nonpayment of Child Support.

Except for good cause shown, when a noncustodial parent who is ordered to pay child support and who is awarded visitation rights fails to pay child support, the custodial parent shall not refuse to honor the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights.When a custodial parent refuses to honor a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights, the noncustodial parent shall not fail to pay any ordered child support or alimony.

-From Section §43-111.1 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

Relocation.

“Relocation” means a change in the principal residence of a child over 75 miles from the child’s principal residence for a period of 60 days or more, but does not include a temporary absence from the principal residence.
Except as otherwise provided by this section, a person who has the right to establish the principal residence of the child shall notify every other person entitled to visitation with the child of a proposed relocation of the child’s principal residence as required by this section, and an adult entitled to visitation with a child shall notify every other person entitled to custody of or visitation with the child of an intended change in the primary residence address of the adult as required by this section.

A person required to give notice of a proposed relocation or change of residence address under this subsection has a continuing duty to provide a change in or addition to the information required by this subsection as that information becomes known.

The court may consider a failure to provide notice of a proposed relocation of a child as provided by this section as:

  1. A factor in making its determination regarding the relocation of a child,
  2. A factor in determining whether custody or visitation should be modified,
  3. A basis for ordering the return of the child if the relocation has taken place without notice, and
  4. Sufficient cause to order the person seeking to relocate the child to pay reasonable expenses and attorney fees incurred by the person objecting to the relocation.

In reaching its decision regarding a proposed relocation, the court shall consider the following factors:

  1. The nature, quality, extent of involvement, and duration of the child’s relationship with the person proposing to relocate and with the nonrelocating person, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life,
  2. The age, developmental stage, needs of the child, and the likely impact the relocation will have on the child’s physical, educational, and emotional development, taking into consideration any special needs of the child,
  3. The feasibility of preserving the relationship between the nonrelocating person and the child through suitable visitation arrangements, considering the logistics and financial circumstances of the parties,
  4. The child’s preference, taking into consideration the age and maturity of the child,
  5. Whether there is an established pattern of conduct of the person seeking the relocation, either to promote or thwart the relationship of the child and the nonrelocating person,
  6. Whether the relocation of the child will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial party seeking the relocation and the child, including but not limited to financial or emotional benefit or educational opportunity,
  7. The reasons of each person for seeking or opposing the relocation, and
  8. Any other factor affecting the best interest of the child.

-From Section §43-112.3 of the Oklahoma Statutes.

 

This information has been summarized from the Oklahoma statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Oklahoma divorce statutes online here: Oklahoma Divorce Laws.

LEARN MORE ABOUT GENERAL CHILD CUSTODY LAWS.

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