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Legal Information: Oklahoma


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December 8, 2023

Can a parent who committed domestic violence, stalking, or harassment get visitation or custody?

In a custody or visitation case, the judge should consider evidence of domestic abuse, stalking, or harassing behavior by either parent.1 If the judge believes a parent has committed one of these behaviors, s/he will assume that it is not in the child’s best interest to allow the abusive parent to have: 

  • unsupervised visitation;1
  • sole custody; 
  • joint custody; or 
  • any shared parenting.2  

However, the abusive parent can offer evidence to convince the judge to change his/her mind and still grant the abusive parent custody rights. In addition, an abusive parent can get visitation if the judge can provide for the safety of both you and your child during those visits.For more information, see How can the judge protect me if I have been a victim of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment from the other parent?

Note: To decide if a parent is abusive, the judge will use the following definitions: 

  1. domestic violence: 
    • physically harming you or threatening to do so;
    • causing you to reasonably fear being physically harmed; or
    • intentionally causing you, your child, or another member of the household emotional distress. This can include using coercive control through physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, economic or financial abuse;
  1. stalking as defined in Oklahoma Statutes Section 1173 of Title 21; and
  2. harassment: 
    • a purposeful pattern of conduct that seriously alarms you or is a nuisance to you and serves no legitimate purpose. This includes: 
      • harassing or obscene telephone calls; or 
      • behavior that would cause a reasonable person to be in fear of death or bodily injury.4

1 43 O.S. § 109.3
2 43 O.S. § 109(I)(1)
3 43 O.S. § 111.1(3)
43 O.S. § 109(I)(2)