When going through a divorce, determining the custody arrangement of children can be extremely difficult. The courts can typically either assign joint child custody or sole child custody, depending on the situation. Understanding the key differences between these two options can help you to prepare for your future situation.
Understanding Joint Custody
Joint custody is, as the name implies, when the courts grant both the mother and the father the right to care for the kids. This includes both physically caring for them with a significant amount of parenting time as well as making decisions for the kids. In most cases, the courts will grant joint custody unless there is a compelling reason not to because as a matter of policy, the courts want children to have access to both parents if they are available.
This type of custody arrangement, however, does present certain challenges. With joint custody, the parents will need to collaborate a lot and discuss things such as what school the children will go to, what medical treatments they will receive, and much more. In addition, each parent can make their own decisions regarding how the day-to-day things run while they are with the children, which can conflict with the other parent’s style. Despite these challenges, however, parents who are willing to put in the effort will typically find that they are able to put the children first.
Understanding Sole Custody
Sole custody, on the other hand, is when the courts grant only one of the parents full custody. This does not necessarily mean that the other parent will never get to see the child, however. The sole custody primarily addresses who gets to make legal and medical decisions for the child. If sole custody is granted to the mother, for example, then only she will be able to choose which school the children go to, their doctor, their dentist, and other decisions of that nature.
The courts will often still grant both parties parenting time so that they can have a relationship with the child. In most cases, however, the parent with sole custody would be the one to have significantly more time with the children than the non-custodial parent. If there is a strong reason not to permit one of the parents to see the children, sole custody would also be granted in this scenario.
Taking Your Custody Battle Seriously
Whenever facing any type of custody battle in Oklahoma, you need to take it extremely seriously as it will impact your family situation for years to come. Working with an experienced family law attorney will give you the best chances of getting the desired outcome. Contact Hensley Legal Services to discuss your situation to see what the best course of action may be.