Demonstrate That You Can Take Care of Your Child
My name is Brian L. Jackson. I am a father’s rights lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma here with Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable, and I want to talk about how you can position yourself going into court to get the most time possible with your child.
First, I want to kind of clarify what I mean by that. Because the starting point in Oklahoma is joint custody with split time, the maximum possible time most of the time is going to be about half the time. Half the time to her, half the time to you, assuming both of you are fit proper parents and there’s nothing serious going on with either of you that would cast out on your ability to be a joint custodian.
So, one of the first things I can suggest to you is as much as you were able to remain active in your children’s lives during dependency before you get a temporary orders hearing. So that means if you have children play sports, show up to sporting events, if they are in school, show up to parent-teacher conferences. If she offers you visitation, take it. If she is going to try to attach strings to it, I think you probably want to take what you can get. Don’t sign anything, but take what you can get.
Deal with her professionally. Even if it really chaps your backside to do so, deal with her professionally. Make sure that you are working at … Well, let’s start with housing. Make sure you have appropriate housing. If you have to move out, make sure you go someplace where the kids have appropriate bedding, bedrooms, privacy, et cetera, based on their age and their needs.
Demonstrate to the court that you are able to care for the child. If you’re dealing with younger children, that means if you have babies, you’ve got to have diapers and formula. For smaller children, you have to have child-friendly foods. You might also have to have diapers, that kind of thing. Child safety seats in your car. A car that is appropriate for driving children around in, things like that.
By doing that, you’re showing to the court that you are someone who the court can trust not to screw up. Pay attention to anything about you that can be used to potentially argue you are not a good placement. So for example, don’t be involved in substance abuse. Don’t drink excessively. I think with medical marijuana, if you use medical marijuana, make sure your house doesn’t smell like pot. Don’t have plants in the house if you’re going to have kids in the house. Make sure that your products are properly secured and that means having a safe.
If you take prescription medication make sure you’re not going to be so laid out by your meds that you can’t care for children. If you have mental health conditions, make sure that you comply with treatment. If you do have a conflict with the mom, then you need to put a lid on that. No matter what your feelings are, I don’t care what she did to you, be the adult in the room. Show that you can work with her because if you can’t communicate, joint custody isn’t going to work and then it becomes pick apparent and that may or may not work out in your favor.
Some other things to be aware of, be ready with your financials early. The last thing you want is a long delay between filing and getting into court on a temporary order. Also on that same thought process, if you’re talking about a paternity situation where you don’t have rights to the kid to start with, you really want to make sure you have all your ducks in a row walking into the courtroom. So have your financials ready. If you get served with discovery, comply, and do your videos, sign all necessary forms. Do your parenting class as quickly as you possibly can because you need to get into that courtroom ASAP. And those are things that a lot of folks do that delay their case and they don’t realize it.
Now if you have any questions about any of the materials I’ve covered and need help from a Tulsa child custody lawyer, you should go to Dads.Law where fathers are not disposable and we’ll help you out, guys.