Oklahoma Family Law Attorneys
Finding the best Child Custody Attorney is not an easy process. There are many questions that surround a pending child custody proceeding that are certainly going through your head right now. Please take the time to review this page and allow an experienced child custody attorney to outline the process, answer some of your questions, and when you are ready, schedule a free consultation with you.
If you have had a child-out-of-wedlock, it is important to understand your rights regarding your child(ren). Simply because you and the parent of your child are no longer together, does not mean that you do not have parental rights. It is vital that you get an order in place to establish custody, visitation, and child support as quickly as possible. These orders will essentially be your operating agreement until your child reaches the age of the majority. Having an experienced child custody attorney on your side to navigate these issues with you is your first step. Your actions, and the actions of your child’s other parent, prior to filing of a paternity action can have a major impact on the court’s decision in your case when it comes to child custody, visitation, child support, and even payment of attorney’s fees and costs. Walking into court with the proper preparation, legal advice, evidence, and an experienced child custody attorney will significantly help you when it comes to contested matters.
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services can only issue orders related to child support. Oklahoma DHS is unable to issue orders with respect to child custody and visitation. It is important to have a child custody attorney on your side. Additionally, DHS is able to establish paternity through DNA testing if this issue is contested. It is necessary for you to go to District Court to file the appropriate pleadings necessary to establish custody and visitation with your child. DHS will be brought in for child support purposes in some instances when they are deemed a necessary party.
When it comes to challenging paternity, the sooner you do it, the more of a chance a challenge will be upheld if, in fact, the named father is not the actual father. However, the statues of Oklahoma with respect to paternity limit these challenges to as late as two (2) years after the child’s birth. Understanding this timeline could potentially be the difference between being financially responsible for a child, or not, that is not yours. Having an experienced child custody attorney on your side is invaluable when dealing with this difficult issue.
Most likely, if you have already been served, you have read through the documents and have many concerns, questions, and are wondering how you can respond. First and foremost, do not sign anything and send it back to your spouse’s attorney. Come and see me, an experienced child custody attorney for a free consultation and let me answer your questions for you. There also may be a court hearing already set and the sooner you retain a divorce attorney, the more time we have to respond and prepare for the hearing. Your spouse has probably received preparation from his or her child custody attorney and you need to be prepared as well. It is imperative that you start getting prepared today. Additionally, if you fail to properly respond within twenty (20) days, or if you fail to appear at court, your spouse is likely to get everything he or she has asked for. Do not let this happen to you!
Generally, you will have your first court appearance anywhere from five (5) to thirty (30) days after being served or you filing. By retaining an experienced child custody attorney in Oklahoma, you will go into the hearing prepared. You may still be nervous about appearing or the unknown outcome; however, you will go in there with an attorney that knows family law, that understands your position, that will be honest with you about what the potential outcome will be, and will be prepared to negotiate with opposing counsel prior to the hearing to work on settlement. You can expect to meet with me the week of your initial court appearance to discuss your matter and prepare you for court. We will gather and prepare necessary exhibits that relate to child custody, visitation, and, child support, and requests for attorney’s fees. When we arrive at court, our goal is to always leave there the best possible outcome, whether through negotiations, or through decree from the judge.
Prior to trial, there is an extensive amount of work that goes into preparation. First, we gather information through a process known as Discovery. Discovery can be very extensive and time consuming for both the child support attorney, and the client. It is important that it is completed properly and timely. You will be kept informed of all discovery related issues when working with me and you will remain involved in the process. Discovery allows us to build the financial picture of the marital estate, as well as, prepare for mediation or trial on child custody, visitation, child support, and support alimony issues.
I encourage mediation and some courts actually require it. Meditation is an opportunity for you and your spouse to sit and attempt to reach a settlement on all issues. Sometimes, we are unable to reach settlement on all issues; yet, we are able to settle some, or even a majority of issues. That being said, mediation is an extremely cost effective way to settle your case. It is important that you have an experienced divorce attorney by your side during the meditation process.
If your case is unable to settle at mediation or through informal negotiations, your case will be set for trial. This will be the final hearing in which the court will settle all issues not resolved in mediation. This is our opportunity to present all evidence related to assets, debts, child custody, visitation, child support, support alimony, and attorney fees. It is also the time in which all relevant witnesses will be brought to court to testify on your behalf. Getting prepared for trial does not happen overnight and having an experienced attorney on your side will ensure we are ready to go when it is time for trial. The court, at this time, will issues its orders finalizing the divorce and settling all issues. It is very important that when you go to trial, you have a child support attorney that has prepared you and your case for this big day.
This is just a brief overview of what you can expect when it comes to your child custody issues. Obviously, no case is the same and the quicker we are able to set you up with the right advice and courses-of-action, the better prepared you will be if we make it trial. Call me today and schedule your free consultation with an experienced Family and Divorce Lawyer. 405-492-4441
If you think it is time to start asking questions, or you know you are ready to proceed, call us today to for a free consultation in our office. Let an experienced Oklahoma City Child Custody Attorney assist you today.