Can a Child Make Their Own Custody Decisions in Oklahoma?
Divorces that involve children inevitably involve deciding on child custody arrangements. This process involves several factors like legal rights, where the child will grow up, and which parent is more capable of raising the child in a healthy and productive environment. If parents agree on what custody arrangements should be made, a divorce trial is usually unnecessary. However, when disagreements arise concerning who should raise the child, the courts will ultimately decide on child custody. If you are concerned about a child custody order, talk to an Oklahoma City Divorce Lawyer.
Best Interests of the Child Standard
Family courts uphold the best interest of the child standard which states that custody orders should be decided based on what would offer the child the best benefits after a divorce. Each state has similar and different factors that help decide on the best interests of the child.
While the child cannot make a custody decision until they reach the age of consent, children can report certain factors that could change who they end up with after the divorce. Factors that can significantly change a custody decision include a history of abuse, mental illness in one of the parents, or an unhealthy living environment. Courts will avoid placing children at risk by letting a parent with mental health issues or an unsafe living environment raise them.
Once a child reaches the age of 18, they are allowed to choose who they want to live with. They also have the option to move out and live on their own. Courts make legal decisions like these for minors because minors are deemed unable to make fully informed or accurate decisions for themselves.
Oklahoma Factors that Affect Custody
Oklahoma has certain factors involved with the best interests standard that can affect child custody orders. Courts are expected to uphold the protection of the child from harm, abuse, and neglect. This is why parents are often examined carefully to determine if there are any inherent risks for situations in which sole custody is involved. Sole custody means the child will primarily live with one parent, but may still receive visits from the other parent.
Oklahoma also tries to keep siblings together if possible. This is done for emotional support after the potential adverse psychological effects of divorce. Children tend to cope better when they are undergoing the change with someone else within their age range. In the event that siblings become separated, courts will attempt to compensate for this with enforced visitations with siblings. Education, healthcare, and safety of the child are also taken into account.
Divorce Attorney in Oklahoma
Child custody decisions can have strong effects on children. This is why making the right informed legal decision is important. Talking with an Oklahoma Family Lawyer can help you decide the best option for your children and in some cases, a child custody order can be changed. Contact the Putnam Law Office today at (405)-849-9149 for consultation. Mr. Putnam is an Oklahoma City, OK attorney who is dedicated to his clients.