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  • My ex-spouse has threatened to move away with the children. Could he/she actually move away without my knowing?

    Oklahoma child custody laws require that a custodial parent who is planning to move must always give a 60 day written notice to the noncustodial parent.  This notice must state the parent’s intent to relocate, the new location, the date of relocation, and a statement stating the other party may oppose within 30 days.  If the noncustodial parent opposes the relocation, then the court will look at several factors such as the motive of relocating, whether the move will enhance the quality of the life of the child, and the age and needs of the child.  The relocating parent must show that the move is in good faith.  This helps prevent a parent that wants to move just to spite the noncustodial parent.  In this case, they will not be able to show the move is in the best interest of the child.  However, if the relocation is legitimately for work-related reasons, the moving parent would most likely not have a problem with the move.

  • I don’t get to see my child as much as I would like. How can I get more time with him/her?

    Typically, in Oklahoma a motion to modify child custody only requires there be a change in circumstances and that this change is in the best interest of the child.  The change in circumstances can be several different things. For example, it could be a parent got a new job and this job allows more time to be spent with the child.  After the change in circumstances requirement is met, the moving party must show that the change in custody is in the best interest of the child.  However, if the moving party is trying to modify full custody, then the test requires there to be a permeant, substantial and material change in conditions, which directly affects the best interest of the child, and as a result, the child would be substantially better off with respect to temporal, mental, and moral welfare if the requested change in custody is ordered.  This requirement is much harder to satisfy than the general change in circumstances requirement. 

  • “My ex-spouse lives with someone convicted of child abuse. I am concerned he/she will get custody.”

    There are a few Oklahoma statutory presumptions for the best interest of the child test.  Oklahoma has statutes in place to help the best interest of the child test in these circumstances. There are several issues that can create the presumption that one parent will not pass the best interest of the child test.  If a parent is living with someone who is a registered sex offender, has been convicted of child abuse, an alcoholic or drug dependent, has inflicted serious bodily harm to themselves or another, or has been convicted of domestic abuse within the past 5 years, then there is a rebuttable presumption that the best interest of the child would not be with that parent. 

  • I am getting a divorce, but I do not know how my child custody will be determined.

    The test for determining child custody in Oklahoma is called “the best interest of the child test.”  This test looks at several different factors relating to the child’s relationship with each parent and determines which type of custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.  Factors the court may consider may include if any risk or harm to the child exists, which parent is more likely to allow visitation, if any drug or alcohol abuse exists, and whether or not the parents have the ability to work with each other.

  • What are the different types of child custody in Oklahoma?

    The three different types of child custody in Oklahoma are full custody, joint custody, and joint custody with a primary parent.  First, full custody is when one parent has complete control over all aspects of the children. However, this does not mean the other parent would not have visitation rights.  Second, joint custody is when the parents share the children and all major decisions regarding the children.  Major decisions are defined as schooling, religion, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.  Lastly, joint custody with a primary parent allows for the parents to share the child, but the ultimate decision making power for major decisions would lie with only one parent, the primary parent.  The primary parent would still have to consult with the non-primary parent, but in the event they disagreed, the primary parent would have the final say.

  • My spouse has been ordered to pay child support, but she/he is not paying. Is there anything I can do?

    There are several different was you can enforce child support obligations in Oklahoma.  For example, one route is to file a contempt citation.  This would show that the paying parent has been ordered to pay child support and she/he is not currently doing so.  If the paying parent continues to not pay, then they may be held in contempt.  However, this route is extreme and does not necessarily get the parent the funds needed.  The most effective option is to use Child Support Services.  Child Support Services will employ such actions as wage garnishments or even revoking the paying parent’s licenses. 

  • I lost my job. Is there any way I can lower my child support payment?

    To modify child support in Oklahoma there must be either a significant change of circumstances in income of the child support paying parent, a material change in circumstances in the needs of the child, or both.  An example of a significant change in circumstances in income would be if there is a 200%-400% increase in income. Therefore, if the paying parent’s income increases or decreases drastically, then either party should move to modify child support. Moreover, an example of a material change in circumstances could be a change in the child’s health, such as a recently obtained disability.  Due to the change, more support would be in order to accommodate this new way of life.

  • My spouse does not have a job. Will his income be $0 on the child support guidelines?

     The minimum income for the child support guidelines is a minimum wage at a 40 hour work week.  This does not mean the parent must have at least a minimum wage job and work at least a 40 hour work week.  This means that even if the parent does not have a minimum wage job and does not work a 40 hour work week, the parent’s income on the child support guidelines will be a minimum wage at a 40 hour work week.  Therefore, a parent may not voluntarily under employ themselves to avoid paying child support.  A parent cannot gain immunity from child support by voluntarily under-employing themselves.  In the event a parent does try to under-employ themselves, their income will still either be minimum wage or based on what the person could earn.

  • I haven’t been able to pay my child support obligation and I’m behind. Is there anything I can do?

    Any attempt to deprive a child of support is void.  However, past due child support can be waived, if it is waived by the receiving parent. Waiving past due child support does not waive any portion of future obligated child support.  Future child support can never be waived or contracted away.  The reasoning behind this, is that the child is entitled to support and the child is not a party to the agreement.  Therefore, any agreement to waive child support will only waive the past due child support.

  • What is the Right to Remain Silent and How do I Use it?

    Right to Remain Silent:

    One of your most critical rights - don't be Naive - enforce your rights!

    The best way to assert you right without causing undue attention is to say: “I do want to cooperate, but only after I have retained an Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyer, Dustin Compton told me to tell you that he must be present before I do anything else"

    When the police ask to speak to you, you have the right to remain silent.  You must know that anything and everything you say to the police will be used against you.  You may talk to the police about the crime they arrested you for, but you are not required. If you do start talking to the police, you may stop talking at any time during the interview or interrogation and ask for a lawyer.  Best practice is to say “I do want to cooperate but only after I have retained an Oklahoma criminal defense lawyer.”  At that point the law enforcement officer must ask no more questions.  You have the right to ask to have an attorney when the police want to question you. If you ask for any attorney the police cannot ask you any questions until you have spoken with an attorney. If you cannot afford to pay for an attorney, the court may appoint a lawyer to represent you if the court believes you do not have enough money to hire one.

    You are not required to talk to the police when questioned about a crime. Exercise your rights – Don't "feel" bad about saying "no, I want an attorney present first" If you can't do it for yourself, do it for your family.

    NEVER EVER NEVER give a statement without legal representation. 

    The ONLY thing you are going to accomplish by giving a voluntary statement is BAD FOR YOU!  Anything you say likely will be tape recorded or videotaped with or without your knowledge.