What are the steps for filing for custody?
The steps for filing for custody depend on the marital status of the parents.
If you are married and seeking a divorce, the custody issues will be settled in your divorce decree (judgment).
If you are not married or married and NOT filing for divorce, your first step will depend on whether paternity (legal fatherhood) has been established. Paternity can be established in the following ways:
- in court (such as in an action to collect child support);
- by signing an acknowledgement of paternity;* or
- because the child was born during the marriage or within 300 days after the marriage ended.**
If paternity has been established, a "petition for determination of custody and visitation" can be filed by either parent. If paternity has not been established, you could file a "petition to determine paternity, custody, support and visitation" (usually called a "petition for paternity").
* 10 O.S. § 7700-301
** Unif.Parentage Act (2000) § 204