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Understanding Oklahoma child custody laws

The divorce process can be a taxing endeavor – disagreements, discovery, mediation and court hearings can be mentally and physically overwhelming. Now add child custody to all of that. That’s why it’s important to understand your state’s child custody laws.

In Oklahoma, the court determines custody based on the best interests of the child. They come to this conclusion by factoring which situation is best for the child’s physical and mental well-being and which parent is more open to allowing the other parent to have recurrent contact with the child.

Older couples in divorce face unique financial challenges

Older couples in Oklahoma who are ending their marriage and seeking a divorce might face certain financial challenges. There might be concern about the future, but older people can plan for life post-divorce and protect their financial interests.

In negotiating the divorce settlement, older adults can work toward reaching an agreement that is fair for both parties and that helps ensure their finances. The first concern for many older adults is alimony. Fair alimony is based on total compensation, not just base salary, so additional things need to be considered, such as stock options, allowances and compensation packages. The way the assets will be divided in each case is also another cause for concern. As an equitable distribution state, Oklahoma's rules mean that all assets acquired during marriage will be divided fairly, which leaves it somewhat unclear.

Survey shows factors that frequently arise leading to divorce

When married Oklahoma residents are having problems with their relationship and determine that divorce is the only way to move forward, there are many factors that go into the decision. Researchers have assessed divorce to gauge the most common causes. For those who are having marital issues, the difficulties experienced by others can be a guideline for their situation.

A survey involved 2,371 people whose average age was 45 and who had gotten divorced. The results brought forth interesting revelations as to why people choose to end a marriage. The following reasons were cited most often: an absence of love or intimacy; lack of communication; an erosion of trust, respect and sympathy; and growing apart.

How to keep the family home after a divorce

When an Oklahoma couples goes through the divorce process, they will need to determine how they will split up the family's assets, including items they obtained during the marriage. One of these items may be the family home, which is often the largest asset that is obtained during the marriage. If there are kids involved, a parent may wish to keep the home, which may or may not be feasible based on the parent's circumstances.

If one person wants to keep the family home, a home inspection must be completed to determine the value of the home. Then, it must be determined how much equity each person has in the home. To determine this, the remaining principal on the mortgage is subtracted from the value of the home. The equity is then divided between the former couple.

Considerations regarding child support and moving to another state

Oklahoma parents who pay or receive child support and are considering moving to a different state might question how this might affect custody and support issues. Logically, thinking about cost-of-living and a child's best interest, there might be a question of how constant support amounts remain throughout the country. They might be surprised that amounts vary widely due to other factors in how states calculate support payments.

When parents negotiate child custody & support, their first concern is maintaining the quality of life of their children. The federal government provides guidelines for establishing support payments. However, each state designs its own formula, and as a result, states do not always arrive at the same amount for families in similar situations.

Preparing for a custody dispute

Oklahoma parents who are getting ready to dispute custody must prepare for the court hearings. During the hearings, they should have a variety of documents ready to show the court that can support their case in front of the judge.

Even before the hearing, the judge will be expecting supporting documentation with the original written request. This written documentation includes a submission that clearly states the person's position and what they want the court to do. If the other parent has initiated the proceedings, their ex will receive the petition with the supporting documentation and have a chance to respond in written form. This response should also include supporting evidence.

Divorce doesn’t need to ruin your retirement

Throughout your marriage, you’ve planned for retirement tallying up your work benefits with your spouse’s to make the math come out right. It seemed it would probably work out fine.

Now comes a divorce and a lot of uncertainty. Typically, one of you will have more social security, more in an IRA, a better-defined contribution or even a defined benefit plan. If you go your separate ways, what will happen to those plans, that money, and the retirement you had imagined for so long?

Second marriages, prenups increasingly common

The number of people who are remarrying after their first marriages is on the uptick, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. The study shows that around 66% of people between 55 and 64 years old who have been previously married are getting remarried. That figure was approximately 50% in the 1960s. People in Oklahoma who are considering a second marriage should consider certain matters to ease financial tensions.

People who are marrying for the second or third time are likely to come into the marriage with more financial means than they had when they married the first time. They may also have financial issues to deal with as a result of a previous divorce. There may also be issues of children from previous relationships, and some legal planning might be necessary to ensure that the kids are not forgotten if something should happen to one of the spouses. To ensure that distributions are made properly, both to the children and the new spouse, individuals should consider a prenup.

The benefits of mediation

When a marriage falls apart, sometimes people are reluctant to seek out divorce because of the lengthy battle they assume will be the result.

Fortunately, for those not eager to enter a lengthy contested divorce, other options exist. Mediation is one such option, which has some unique upsides. Here are a few benefits to mediation:

Being an active non-custodial parent

Oklahoma parents who decide to divorce may have a number of questions to answer about child custody. While joint or shared custody is becoming a more popular choice for families, it is not necessarily the right choice for every family. Employment, housing, location and other issues may play into a final decision about how to handle custody for a particular family. However, just because a parent does not have primary physical custody, this does not need to mean that he or she is not deeply involved in and engaged with the child's life.

In many cases, non-custodial parents have substantial scheduled visitation to ensure that the parent-child relationship remains close. In other cases, people share legal custody, giving them equal authority in decision-making about the child's medical care and education, even though physical custody is not shared. Of course, child support is also a critical part of the picture and works to ensure that the child has the financial resources necessary to grow and develop.

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