Do Children Get a Say in Oklahoma Custody Hearings?
When a romantic relationship or a marriage falls apart and children are involved, the stakes are high with respect to doing the right thing that is in the children’s best interest. And while each parent may want to have the most time with their children and be awarded primary or even sole custody, the courts are going to look at the entirety of the demise of a relationship and take many factors into account for determining what happens to the children.
In Oklahoma, the judge is always going to be weighing factors with the children’s best interests in mind. The child may or may not personally like the outcome, but depending on the situation, their preference could be one of the factors used in the judge’s custody decision.
A family breaking up can be an emotional and overwhelming experience to go through. When children are a part of the dissolution of a relationship, the whole process can be even more taxing as the ordeal may bring great trauma to a young one. It is critical that a child is placed in the best possible situation for their circumstances.
If you are getting a divorce in Oklahoma, protecting your interests and the interests of your child is the only right thing to do. Working with a lawyer can be helpful as a qualified legal professional will look to address all of the issues you are facing. The Oklahoma City divorce lawyer at the Putnam Law Office is here for you to help you through each step of the divorce process.
How Much Do Children’s Wishes Weigh on a Custody Decision
The Oklahoma courts will look at custody in terms of where the child actually resides and spends time, as well as legal custody. Legal custody is a parent’s ability to be a decision maker for critical things in a child’s life such as medical decisions, educational opportunities, religious beliefs, and more. There are several combinations of legal and physical custody that can be awarded to parents. Ultimately, though, having both parents in the life of the child, where it is healthy and safe for these interactions, is the favored approach.
A judge does not have to consider the wishes of a child when determining custody. This is especially so if the child is young, or under the age of 12. However, some judges will allow a child to voice their opinion if they have a preference. Still, when the judge makes a final determination, the result will be what the judge deems to be the situation that is in the child’s best interests.
Unfortunately, this causes some parents to spoil their children or talk badly about the other parent in an effort to help them curry favor with the child. This is the wrong approach, however, and could be more harmful than helpful in the long term.
Speak with an Oklahoma Divorce Lawyer Today
In most situations where a child has a preference that a judge will hear, the child can express themselves by methods that avoid having them testify in court. Ideally, parents can agree upon what is best for their children but when this is impossible, a judge may have to intervene and make a decision. For help with a divorce proceeding in Oklahoma, please call the attorney at the Putnam Law Office to speak with an Oklahoma divorce lawyer during a free consultation at (405) 849-9149.