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Oklahoma Child Custody Laws

Child custody, often tied to divorce cases, is regulated by state laws, all of which have adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). The UCCJEA helps ensure that custody orders are enforced in any state, to discourage interstate kidnapping by non-custodial parents and other problems. Child custody laws also cover visitation, which all states provide to some degree, while custody and visitation decisions always must consider the child's own best interests.

Child Custody Laws in Oklahoma at a Glance

In the absence of an Oklahoma court's custody order, both parents (if child was born during marriage or there was a paternity agreement in place) may claim physical custody of the child until the court rules otherwise. State law is less clear with regard to unwed parents and child custody, but the father is entitled to physical custody if he is noted on the birth certificate (until the court rules otherwise).

The following chart lists additional details about Oklahoma's child custody laws. See FindLaw's extensive Child Custody section for more articles and resources.

Code Section Tit. 43 §112
Year Uniform Child Custody Act Adopted 1980
Types of Custody Available
  • Joint custody
  • Sole custody
  • Split custody
  • Birdnesting (children stay in one home and the parents rotate time in the home on a schedule)
Types of Visition Ordered by the Court
  • Weekend visitation (usually from Friday until Sunday evening or Monday morning)
  • Holiday visitation (usually a schedule that alternates certain holidays)
  • Summer visitation (uninterrupted by weekend visitation)
Grandparent Visitation Rights Recognized? Yes, 10§5
Child's Own Wishes Considered? Yes (either court determines whether the child's "intelligent preference" is being expressed or the court backs its decision to take child's wishes into consideration)

Note: State laws are always subject to change, usually through higher court opinions or the passage of new legislation. Be sure to contact an Oklahoma child custody attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Child Visitation Under Oklahoma Law

Oklahoma family courts generally follow the following principles when determining visitation rights of non-custodial parents:

  • Children do best when both parents have a stable and meaningful involvement in their children's lives.
  • Each parent has different and valuable contributions to make to their children's development.
  • Absent a showing of harm, children should be have structured, routine time as well as unstructured time with each parent.
  • Parents who can mutually agree on visitation schedules, and who can agree to be flexible, should be given a preference over court-imposed solutions.
  • Divorced/separated parents have inherent obligation toward their children, including avoiding open conflict, maintaining consistent rules and values, adjusting schedules when necessary, etc.

Research the Law

Oklahoma Child Custody Laws: Related Resources

Get Professional Legal Help With Your Oklahoma Custody Case

Resolving child custody cases is a difficult task since it involves applying complex legal issues to determine the best interests of the children involved. If you are a parent involved in a custody dispute, then the best thing that you can do is to meet with an experienced Oklahoma family law attorney who can defend your rights. 

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