Facts on Child Support & Visitation Laws in Oklahoma

By Brenna Davis

Oklahoma, like all states, uses the "best interests of the child" standard in making custody and visitation determinations. However, this standard can be quite vague and lead to different results in similar cases depending on the judge, lawyers and other factors not related to a child's best interests. Consequently, Oklahoma has developed a set of visitation recommendations according to age and parental circumstances designed to help judges make uniform decisions that benefit children. Oklahoma also has standard rules for child support that make it easier for parents to calculate the child support they will likely pay.

Oklahoma, like all states, uses the "best interests of the child" standard in making custody and visitation determinations. However, this standard can be quite vague and lead to different results in similar cases depending on the judge, lawyers and other factors not related to a child's best interests. Consequently, Oklahoma has developed a set of visitation recommendations according to age and parental circumstances designed to help judges make uniform decisions that benefit children. Oklahoma also has standard rules for child support that make it easier for parents to calculate the child support they will likely pay.

Babies

In many states, judges believe babies should not have overnight time with non-custodial parents, usually fathers. However, Oklahoma visitation standards explicitly state that both mothers and fathers are capable of providing competent care to babies. Children under 18 months, according to Oklahoma's Visitation Guidelines, should have contact with the non-custodial parent several times a week to foster attachment and bonding. As the child develops into a toddler, the length of the visits should be increased; the frequency may be decreased, if necessary.

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Older Children

The guidelines for preschoolers encourage judges to take into account the role each parent plays in the child's life. Non-custodial parents who are heavily involved with children should be given substantial visitation time. However, if the custodial parent has historically been the primary caregiver, every other weekend plus contact during the week is the recommended visitation schedule. For children 5 to 17 years old, the guidelines advocate an "every other weekend" schedule, emphasizing that most quality parenting time occurs during the weekend and transitions should not interrupt a child's school week.

Other Visitation Considerations

It's important to note that state guidelines are for visitation and play no role in determining custody. When parents share custody, visitation schedules may be dramatically different and Oklahoma law gives no gender-based preference in making custody determinations. State guidelines also require that parents foster their children's relationship with the other parent and permit telephone or e-mail contact when they are away from them.

Child Support Guidelines

The state of Oklahoma offers a child support calculator to help parents determine their anticipated child support obligation. Parents' child support obligations are based on their income and the child's needs, and judges attempt to preserve the standard of living a child was previously accustomed to when making child support determinations. Parents are generally obligated to contribute to medical, educational and daily expenses, and it is normally non-custodial parents who pay child support. When parents share custody, both may be obligated to pay child support or pay a specific percentage of a child's regular expenses.

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Tenessee Custody Laws

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Kentucky Child Vistitation Laws

Although divorced parents in Kentucky often share legal custody of their children, they don't typically share physical custody. For the parent without physical custody, a visitation schedule protects that parent's right to spend time with the child. Parents should know the Kentucky laws regarding custody rights and related legal issues, such as child support or grandparent visitation.

Joint Child Custody: How to Create Your Child Visitation Schedule

You have the power to negotiate a visitation schedule that works well for you. If you and your ex-partner agree to share joint child custody, you can generally create a child custody and visitation schedule with or without a court order. When you enter into the custody agreement, you are both bound by its terms. However, the agreement cannot legally be enforced until the court approves it and issues a child custody order.

Custody and Visitation of Toddlers

When spouses divorce, they must decide how to split custody of their children, including setting a visitation schedule so each parent gets to spend time with the children. If the parents cannot agree on custody and visitation arrangements, the court will make these decisions for the parents. Though the process is generally the same for all children, toddlers may need special consideration because of their young age.

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