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Legal Information: Oklahoma

Custody

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Laws current as of December 8, 2023

What is mediation?

Mediation is when a neutral third party sits down with the parents in a custody or visitation case and tries to help them agree on the custody arrangement without multiple court hearings. The parents are responsible for paying for mediation. 

In a divorce or child custody proceeding, an Oklahoma judge may require the parties to go to mediation. 

If domestic violence is involved, the judge usually will not require mediation. Be sure to tell the judge if the other parent is violent or abusive and you don’t want mediation. However, the judge can still require mediation in domestic violence cases if all of the following are true: 

  • Your mediator has training in the effect of domestic violence or child abuse on its victims; 
  • The judge believes you can negotiate with the abuser without there being an imbalance of power as a result of the abuse. This means the judge will try to decide whether or not you can reasonably get your voice and ideas heard by the abuser or if s/he may intimidate, frighten, or harm you in some way that would prevent you from feeling you can speak up; and
  • The mediation process is set up to protect against this power imbalance that generally comes with domestic violence.1

So, if your judge orders mediation and you are a victim of domestic violence, you may be able to argue that one or more of these conditions have not been met and that mediation will have a harmful effect on you.

1 43 O.S. §107.3(B)