What types of child custody arrangements exist in Oklahoma?

Whether you are divorcing your spouse or planning to live separate from your child’s other parent, your children will probably split their time between two homes. Understanding the different types of custody arrangements can let you know what to expect in the event that you seek a child custody order.

When you file a petition for custody in Oklahoma, a judge will determine a custody arrangement with the best interests of the child in mind. There are typically four categories of legal custody that could guide the time you spend with your child or weight you have in decisions about your child, including:

  1. Joint custody: When both parents can responsibly take care of their children on their own and in their own respective homes, a court will usually grant joint physical, joint legal custody or both. Through joint physical custody, children split their time living between both homes. While joint legal custody allows both parents to help make important decisions regarding their children — from which pediatrician they should see to which school they should attend.
  2. Sole custody: Sole custody is nearly the opposite of joint custody. Under sole custody, both parents usually aren’t as equally involved in raising their child. Under sole physical and legal custody, the children will reside in one home of a parent who has the final say in all child-related decisions. However, parents who don’t have sole custody can still have some visitation rights.
  3. Split custody: Split custody is an option for parents who have more than one children together. It usually isn’t as popular as joint or sole custody, because it involves giving each parent sole custody of separate siblings. Meaning if you divorce your spouse and have two sons together, one son could live with mom most of the time, while the other could live with dad most of the time. Under split custody, parents may still have legal custody rights of their child even if they have limited physical custody.
  4. Bird nesting: Bird nesting is another custody arrangement that courts in Oklahoma may grant. Through a bird nesting setup, parents take turns raising their children in one home. So instead of having children move back and forth, the parents will split their time between two homes instead. This is often a short-term arrangement.

If you are thinking about filing a petition for custody, an experienced family law attorney can help guide the way.