Can I Change an Oklahoma Custody Order?
If you are unsatisfied with the ruling of the court in your custody case, you will not be able to immediately appeal or contest. The Final Custody Order will not be reconsidered until some major change that impacts the wellbeing of the child occurs. These types of changes can include a parent attempting to move out-of-state with the child, a continued loss of income to the point where they can no longer ably support the child, new criminal activity, or an abusive situation.
If your legal representation agrees the development is significant enough to warrant a reexamination of the Custody Order, you can file a Motion to Modify Custody. At a new hearing, a judge will review the original custody case along with the new information and decide whether or not to amend the Final Custody Order. We can help you determine if new evidence is sufficient in attempting a modification and help argue for a change in court.
How Property Division Works in Oklahoma
You are likely concerned whether you will retain the property you believe you deserve following a separation. Oklahoma has specific rules about how property is divided in a divorce.
First, you must make the distinction between “separate property” and “marital property.” In Oklahoma, only marital property will be divided in a divorce; separate property is exclusively yours and will not be touched.
Separate property includes any assets you had before you got married as well as any gifts, settlements, or inheritances that you – and only you – receive during the marriage. Anything else is considered marital property. If you bought new furniture for your home after you were married, for instance, that is all considered marital property. If you had an antique chair you owned prior to the marriage and brought it into your home, that is counted as separate property.
Oklahoma is one of many “equitable distribution” states that mandates marital property must be divided “fairly.” The definition of “fair,” or what constitutes fairness, is often a source of conflict between divorcing parties that consequently forces a court to decide. Keep in mind that a 50/50 split is not necessarily what will be considered fair.
How Will an Oklahoma Court Split Property in a Divorce?
It is worth pointing out that you do not necessarily have to resort to a court proceeding to split your property in a divorce. If you and your divorcing partner jointly agree that a property split you decide together is sufficiently fair, the matter can end there.
Disputes are unfortunately common, and emotions tend to run high in a divorce. Once a court becomes involved, they will likely inventory the marital property and assign monetary value to each asset. From there, a judge will consider the contributions each party made to the marriage. If one party earned significantly more than the other, they might get a greater share of the property, as they “earned” more of the marital property. In some cases, however, a sympathetic judge might give the partner who earns less income a greater amount of property, as they will likely need that value to adjust to a life with less income. A spouse taking sole custody of a child is likely to get more property, and any partner found to meet a Fault Condition in a divorce is likely to receive less.
Much of property division can come down to the interpretation of the marriage by a judge, not by any mathematical formula. That is why you need our experienced Edmond divorce lawyers to represent you in any court proceedings to make sure the judge understands why you are entitled to your equitable share.
How Child Support Works in Oklahoma
Generally, if you are not awarded sole custody, you will be required to pay some level of child support until the minor child finishes high school or turns 19, whichever comes first. In Oklahoma, the schedule and means by which you calculate your obligation is somewhat complex but is tied to your gross income. In most circumstances, the more you make in income, the more you will owe in child support.
Though the state has a schedule by which it determines minimum base rates, Oklahoma courts have a great deal of discretion in determining the final child support amount. A judge can overrule a mutually agreed upon child support amount that deviates from the state’s schedule if they believe it not to be in the best interest of the child.
An Oklahoma court typically considers the following in deciding support:
- The child’s practical needs
- The extent of parents’ ability to pay
- The child’s standard of living prior to the divorce
These considerations are especially true in instances where the parents are wealthy. When a parent’s income exceeds the maximum bracket in the state’s schedule, the court must decide what (if any) additional amount should be paid. A court can effectively overrule the schedule at their discretion regardless of income, however, in pursuit of the best interests of the child.