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Legal Information: Oklahoma

Custody

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Laws current as of December 8, 2023

How will a judge decide custody?

A judge will decide custody based on what s/he thinks is the best interest of the child. This includes the physical, mental, and moral welfare of your child.1 Some factors a judge may consider are:

  • any history of causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, verbal threats, stalking, or harassing behavior, or causing another person or a minor child to fear of any of these;2
  • which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the noncustodial parent;3
  • a pattern of failing to allow court-ordered visits;4
  • the preference of the child, if the judge believes the child is old and mature enough to form an intelligent preference;5
  • the parents’ preference;
  • the mental and physical health of the parents;
  • the relationship between the parents and the child;
  • if either parent is a registered sex offender;
  • any conviction for child abuse or domestic violence;
  • alcohol and illegal drug use or abuse; and
  • any probable (foreseeable) risk of serious (material) harm.6

1 43 O.S. § 109(A)
2 43 O.S. § 109(I)(5)
3 43 O.S. § 112(C)(3)(a)
4 43 O.S. § 112(D)(1)
5 43 O.S. § 113
6 OKLaw.org - Custody and Visitation Considerations

Note: If your case is going to trial, you can ask the judge to make specific “findings of fact” regarding the reasons for the custody decision.  In other words, the judge will spell out why s/he decided the way s/he did.