Areas of Practice
Child Custody & Visitation
Tulsa-area clients with child custody or visitation rights issues trust the experts at Stanley Myers Morgan. They know our attorneys will work with them to ensure the best interests of the children are met.
Custody cases fall into one of two categories: physical custody or legal custody. Within those categories, parents can share custody (also known as having “joint custody”) or one parent may have primary custody (called “sole custody”). That means there are a number of custody agreements available to you. One parent may have sole physical custody but joint legal custody. In some cases, parents share both the legal and physical custody of the child. It’s also possible for one parent to have sole legal and sole physical custody. It all depends upon the individual case.
Physical custody refers to where the child actually lives. The parent who has sole physical custody of the child has the primary responsibility to care for their child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. In cases where parents split custody, the child lives with one parent part of the time and with the other parent the rest of the time. There is no law that requires that the time spent with parents be split equally. In Oklahoma, the child must spend 121 overnights with the non-custodial parent to qualify for shared parenting.
Legal custody is completely separate from physical custody. Parents with legal custody (sole or shared) have the right to make decisions about the child’s welfare, which includes major educational, medical, and religious decisions. When legal custody is shared, both parents have a say in decisions, but the court may designate one parent as the final decision-maker, which is necessary when the parents cannot reach an agreement on a decision. A parent with sole legal custody is the only parent allowed to make those decisions.
Visitation rights come into play when one parent has sole physical custody of a child. In this situation, the parent with physical custody is called the “custodial parent.” The other parent (known as the “noncustodial parent”) is granted certain visitation rights to see their child. Sometimes, parents work out their own visitation agreements, but when parents can’t agree, a court will issue a visitation order. Stanley Myers Morgan can help in either situation.
Often, visitation schedules give the noncustodial parent visitation one weeknight per week and every other weekend, plus additional time during holidays and the child’s summer break from school. Parents can agree, or the court can order, that time be increased or decreased depending upon the situation.
Visitation can be either supervised or unsupervised. Supervised visitation is usually imposed when one parent poses a danger or has never developed a relationship with the child. These visits are always in the presence of a designated third-party.