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Norman Divorce Law Blog

Fathers more involved in child care than in past

Some Oklahoma fathers may be spending more time with their children than fathers in the past. In a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center, the seven hours per week fathers said that they spent on child care was almost three times higher than it was in 1965. Mothers reported spending 15 hours per week on child care. Almost half of fathers said they felt they did not spend enough time with their children compared to one-quarter of mothers.

A majority of mothers and fathers in roughly equal numbers reported both that parenting was central to their identity and that they found parenting rewarding. Just over half of fathers also said they struggled to balance work and family compared to 60 percent of mothers. About half of both mothers and fathers said they wanted to stay home with their children but could not afford to.

Shared child custody benefits families substantially

Divorcing parents in Oklahoma will have child custody issues to sort through, and fathers should especially consider the benefits of joint or shared custody. Men could experience an uphill climb in family court because, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, family courts continue to give physical custody to mothers in over 80 percent of cases.

This appears to be gradually shifting, however. Several states have passed laws to make shared custody the goal unless factors like child abuse or domestic violence apply. Shared custody also reduces stress levels among children. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health published a study that examined 150,000 people in which the researchers concluded that shared parenting supported children's health.

Seeking custody of a younger sibling

In cases where Oklahoma parents may not be able to provide proper care for minor children, an older sibling may potentially have the ability to seek temporary or even permanent custody. However, seeking custody as a sibling still presents a number of challenges, particularly because siblings are often close in age.

Getting the younger sibling's parents to relinquish custody can sometimes be difficult. In some cases, the parents may be aware that they cannot provide adequate care but simply may not have had a solution. If a parent is willing to name the sibling as the child's legal custodian, going through the process of making everything legal should be much easier.

When parental rights can be terminated

For many Oklahoma parents, the idea of having their rights be terminated can be a frightening thought. For others, however, having their parental rights be terminated may bring relief especially if they cannot properly provide for their children but have not been able to get help. Before a person's parental rights can be terminated, however, there must be a termination proceeding.

The grounds for parental rights termination can vary depending on the state and circumstances. In general, however, a parent's parental rights may be terminated if the child has been severely or chronically abused. Abuse can range from physical, sexual or psychological abuse. A parent may also lose rights if the child was extremely emotionally damaged by the parent or the child was neglected or abandoned.

Ways to manage money before the end of a marriage

When an Oklahoma couple are seeing their marriage come to an end, it could be time for each party to create a financial plan. This plan should consider how money will be spent prior to, during and after a divorce. In the event that a divorce is an amicable one, both people may be able to agree how much will be available to each to pay legal or other expenses related to the end of the marriage.

It is a good idea to use either joint or personal accounts in the same manner after filing for divorce as they were prior to doing so. This may make it harder for a person to face allegations of siphoning assets or otherwise making shady financial moves that may harm the other person. Filing for legal separation may make it easier to create a formal agreement that governs how joint money is to be spent.

Nesting as a child custody alternative

Divorcing parents in Oklahoma and around the country are often able to put their differences aside when child custody and visitation are discussed. Research suggests that protracted custody disputes can damage children emotionally, and shared parenting arrangements are becoming increasingly popular among couples who wish to minimize this psychological toll. One type of shared parenting is called nesting, and its proponents say that it provides children with even more emotional security.

In a nesting arrangement, the child remains in the family home while the parents take turns providing care. Experts say that nesting provides children with a sense of permanence during a difficult time and makes the upheaval of divorce less traumatizing. Children in nesting arrangements remain close to their friends and in a place that is familiar, and they do not have to gather their things together and move between homes on a regular basis.

Aisha Tyler finalizes divorce, agrees to pay ex $2 million

Oklahoma fans of Aisha Tyler may be interested to learn that her divorce with her former husband Jeff Tietjens was finalized on May 17. As part of their divorce settlement, Tyler reportedly voluntarily agreed to pay her ex-husband $2 million.

Tyler and Tietjens were married in May 1994 and separated in January 2015. Tietjens filed for divorce in April 2016 after the couple had been married for more than 20 years. When he filed, Tietjens cited irreconcilable differences and did not ask for alimony. However, he did reserve the right to seek it later on.

Supreme Court rules on case of military divorce benefits

Unlike civilian divorces, state law will not necessarily guide the terms of an Oklahoma military divorce. A May 2017 ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States showed that the Uniformed Services Former Spouses' Protection Act supersedes state laws.

The issue arose from the divorce settlement of a couple that split in 1991. The terms granted the ex-wife 50 percent of her ex-husband's military retirement pay. When he retired a year later after a 20-year career, she began receiving her portion of payments. The arrangement continued until the ex-husband had disability pay approved in 2005 by the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, to avoid double dipping on benefits, the department required that he waive part of his retirement pay to qualify for disability pay. This resulted in a $127 per month reduction in the payments sent to his ex-wife.

What to do if a parent is abusing alcohol or drugs

An Oklahoma parent who is divorced or who is going through a divorce may be concerned about the other parent's substance abuse and how it may affect their child. If the divorce is in progress, the issue should be raised at the child custody hearing. The judge will look into it and determine whether the substance abuse affects the child's safety. The aim of the court is to protect the best interests of the child, and any past substance abuse may also be taken into consideration.

However, a parent may become aware of an issue with abusing alcohol or drugs after the order regarding custody and visitation has been issued. If this happens, the response of both the parent and the judge may vary depending on the severity of the situation. A parent who believes the child is in danger might refuse visitation or file a restraining order against the other parent.

When a child can decide where to live

When an Oklahoma parent is given custody of a child, the decision is made with the child's best interests at heart. However, it is possible that the child does not want to live with the custodial parent. In some cases, the wishes of the child may be taken into account depending on maturity level and age. The noncustodial parent must generally be willing to take on the responsibility of caring for his or her son or daughter.