Oklahoma City Family Law Attorneys
Family law matters are notorious for being both emotionally and financially draining. While it is true that divorces and child custody issues can take a serious toll on families, it is possible to alleviate some of these burdens by retaining an experienced family law attorney who is well-versed in Oklahoma law and will aggressively represent the interests of their clients and their children, whether in the courtroom or in negotiations. If you have questions or concerns about a family law-related legal matter, please contact a member of our legal team today to schedule a one-on-one meeting with a dedicated and compassionate family law attorney who can evaluate your case.
While many people associate the term “family law,” with divorce, it is actually used to encompass a wide range of legal matters, including not only uncontested and contested divorce, but also issues related to:
- Child custody;
- Child support;
- Spousal maintenance;
- Protective orders;
- Child custody/support modifications;
- Alimony modifications;
- Adoptions; and
- Divorce decree modifications.
Each of these issues will vary depending on a family’s specific circumstances, making it especially important for those who are considering divorce, are not receiving child support, or are dealing with another family law matter, to speak with an experienced attorney who can explain their legal options.
Although most couples do not enter into a marriage believing that it will end in divorce, the reality is that many marriages will be dissolved. Dissolving a marriage raises a number of legal issues, especially if the parties have substantial assets or disagree about who should retain custody of the couple’s children. Fortunately, there are specific laws in place that help guide courts in making these decisions. For example, although divorces can be granted for a variety of reasons, including abandonment, adultery, and cruelty, many divorces are granted based on incompatibility. This means that parties are not required to establish fault in order to obtain a divorce, which saves time and money, and is often less emotionally grueling.
Further, when a couple is unable to come to an out-of-court agreement about how their property will be divided, the court will step in and attempt to divide it in a manner that it deems equitable. Being represented by an attorney can prove crucial at this stage, as the parties will need to submit property valuations and financial records to help demonstrate what is marital property, and so must be divided, and separate property, which will remain in the sole possession of the original owner.
Child custody matters are often the most emotionally difficult for the parties involved, especially if there is a significant amount of contention between the spouses. Again, when parties are unable to reach a custody arrangement, a family law court will assess what would be in the best interests of the moral, mental, and physical welfare of the child. This could result in the court granting custody to one parent or to both parents jointly. If it is determined that joint custody would be in the best interests of the child, the parties will be required to submit a parenting plan that includes details about the child’s living arrangements, child support obligations, school placement, visitation rights, and medical care for the child. If approved, both parties must comply with the agreement’s provisions.
Even in cases where a judge decides not to award joint custody, courts are still urged to ensure that minor children have contact with both parents. This could result in the implementation of standard visitation guidelines, which includes a minimum graduated visitation schedule that addresses holidays, midweek and weekend time sharing, extracurricular activities, grandparent visitation, authorized reasons for cancellation of a visit, summer vacation breaks, and differing geographical residences.
In Oklahoma, parents have a legal obligation to provide for the financial needs of their children, which includes the payment of child support by noncustodial parents. When determining how much the parties must pay, the court uses an Income Shares Model, which takes into account the parents’ combined gross income, the number of children, and expenses, such as housing, educational costs, transportation, and healthcare. Although child support amounts can be changed at a later date, the petitioning party will need to demonstrate that a substantial change in his or her circumstances has occurred, which can be difficult without the aid of an experienced legal representative.
Call Today to Speak with a Family Law Attorney
If you have questions about a family law matter, feel free to contact us at Brown & Gould, PLLC by calling 405-235-4500. A member of our legal team is standing by and eager to address your concerns.