Oklahoma City Family Law FAQs

Dealing with a family law case can be extremely stressful for all involved parties. Many people going through a divorce or child custody proceedings have a lot of questions regarding their rights and what to do moving forward. Our Oklahoma City family law lawyers at Putnam Law Offices can help you gain answers to some of the most important questions you have.

Questions about Divorce in Oklahoma City

Under Oklahoma law, when a married couple divorces, each party is entitled to a just and reasonable division of their marital estate. This includes a division of marital property as well as a division of the debts accrued during the marriage.

The first step is to determine what is included in the marital estate and what is some of the property that belongs solely to each party. There are many factors that are taken into consideration when making this determination.

Generally, the timing that the property and the debts were acquired by either party will determine if they belong to one or both parties. It is important to know that Oklahoma law determines what is just and reasonable and is often based on what is an equitable division of property and not necessarily what is equal. Seeking professional services from a qualified family law firm in Oklahoma City can help you prove what marital property can be split between you and the other spouse and what property is your own personal property.

Seeking formal legal advice can make a significant difference in your ability to receive the property you prefer during your divorce and help you better understand your rights.

Upon application of a hearing, a divorce court is able to issue a temporary order relating to the division of marital property, support, and payments, of any expenses, child custody, and visitation. A court can award spousal support that can be entirely temporary, short-term, or permanent. The court will later determine the duration for which the spouse pays alimony.

At the time of the trial or settlement, the court will fairly and equitably divide all of the community property and debts shared by the divorcing couple. The court will then create a child custody order, a visitation schedule of minor children, and deal with support issues. The court will then grant the divorce.

If the judge finds it appropriate, they may award support alimony, attorney costs, and other fees from the trial. Working with a family law firm that specializes in handling complete family matters will ensure you have the best legal representation possible to handle your case and help you obtain the outcome you desire.

In Oklahoma City, OK, a legal separation is a legal process that allows spouses to remain married but live separately. The separation order can specify child custody, visitation, support, spousal maintenance, and other financial obligations of both parties.

Questions about Child Custody and Visitation

Child custody tends to be a very emotional subject in family court. Many people believe they are being subjected to extreme cruelty by having their children taken away from them just because they are going through a divorce. It is important that you understand what types of child custody awards can be made and what your rights are.

In Oklahoma City and across the entire state, courts that are charged with determining custody are expected to use the “best interests of the child standard.” It is believed that it is in the child’s best interest to ensure frequent and continuing contact with both parents. When awarding custody, the court will assign both physical custody and legal custody of a child. A visitation schedule will then be created to ensure all respective companies are able to have shared time with their minor children.

Legal custody is provided to one or both parents to provide them with the ability to decide the child’s legal needs. The court’s decision will specify who can decide the legal needs of the child surrounding their education, healthcare, and various other factors in the child’s life.

Physical custody is a term that is used to describe who a child lives with. In family law, a district court can order physical custody to both parents or provide one parent with sole physical custody of a child.

Joint custody is a type of child custody order that provides both parents the joint responsibility of all or some of the aspects of a child’s legal and physical care, custody, and control. Parents who are awarded joint legal custody will have the ability to share in the upbringing of their children and will make all major decisions on behalf of the child together. Joint legal custody is intended to ensure both spouses are able to take part in raising their child without one spouse making all of the decisions.

In Oklahoma, one parent can be awarded either sole physical and/or sole legal child custody. This type of order provides only one parent the ability to make legal or physical decisions about a child’s life. When a party is awarded sole child custody, they do not need the permission of the other party to make decisions regarding their child’s life.

Most courts find it in the child’s best interest to ensure both parents are taking an active role in the lives of their children. For this reason, it is not typical for courts to award sole custody to one party. However, it does happen in certain instances.

An order for sole child custody must represent the best interest of the child and will take significant evidence to support it. If you believe you should receive this type of order, you should seek the assistance of our attorneys. Our lawyers can guide your legal needs throughout the divorce process and ensure your child’s best interests are protected.

Another type of child custody arrangement that we see in Oklahoma is referred to as “bird nesting.” Bird nesting is a divided custody situation that aims to provide additional stability for children during their parents’ divorce and beyond.

Bird nesting custody arrangements provide that one child lives with one parent full-time. The other parent will then be required to travel to that home to visit the child. These arrangements are not too common as they require a significant amount of cooperation between both parents following their divorce. A temporary order or arrangement of “bird nesting” may be helpful when it comes to one spouse transitioning into their own home.

In Oklahoma, child custody laws provide that orders for custody are made to reflect the child’s best interest. This may not truly reflect the child’s wishes. However, courts do take into consideration the opinion of children who are at least 12-years-old when making an order for child custody.

Questions about Child Support in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

If you are going through a divorce, you may have questions pertaining to how an order for support is determined. Here are some of the most common questions surrounding orders of financial obligations in Oklahoma City.

Child support in Oklahoma is determined by the child support guidelines of the state. The first step in calculating the support amount is to determine the adjusted gross income of each parent. The two incomes are then added together to arrive at a “combined gross monthly family income” amount.

Factors used to determine support in Oklahoma:

There are several ways that a court can calculate gross income. These include:

  • The actual monthly income or income equivalent to a 40-hour workweek (which may or may not include any overtime pay).
  • The average monthly income while employed during the previous three year period.
  • A 40-hour workweek at minimum wage.
  • Imputed monthly income for a person who has comparable training, experience, and education.

The child support guideline schedule will then be used to determine the parent’s child support. The schedule takes into consideration the combined income of both parents as well as the total number of children in the home.

The child support guidelines will then take into consideration the percentage share of the combined gross family income and set that percentage as their share of the base child support obligation.

The gross income for self-employed individuals is determined by the gross receipt minus any necessary and ordinary expenses required for their business operations.

The parent who is not considered to have primary custody of a child is then considered to be the “obligor” and will have to pay child support to the parent with primary custody, or the custodial parent. The amount ordered will be proportionate to the share of their base support.

If the custodial parent pays child care costs to work or go to school, these costs are generally divided as well. The specific circumstances surrounding your custody arrangement may influence how much is paid for a support order.

If you come across an attorney saying that they can get you a very low child support order without knowing what your income is, this is a red flag. These attorneys often view each client as just another customer and do not generally have their best interests in mind.

Instead, seek legal advice from a qualified Oklahoma City family law attorney who truly wants to help you handle your family matters by providing reliable and thorough work while handling your case.

The actual medical and dental insurance premiums for the child are allocated between both parents in the same manner as the adjusted gross income. The amounts are then added to the base child support obligation.

If both parents come to an agreement for an amount to be paid for support, they can create an order that is different from the guideline calculation. It should be noted that the order can be changed at any time by either parent once the order is entered.

Whether you are going through a divorce or dealing with another family law matter, our Oklahoma City law firm can help you handle even the most complex legal case. Our lawyers are committed to providing our clients with the utmost confidence that their cases are being handled in a manner that reflects their own best interests.

Putnam Law Offices Can Help You

At Putnam Law Offices, we strive to help our clients find answers to some of the most challenging questions surrounding the decisions affecting their family law case. Feel free to schedule a free consultation with our family law lawyers in Oklahoma City by calling (405) 849-9149. Our lawyers are available to meet with you at your earliest convenience to discuss your Oklahoma family law case.