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Situation in OK

Started by mistoffolees, Sep 18, 2006, 11:45:09 AM

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mistoffolees

I am planning to divorce my wife in OK. She is a decent mother, but becomes verbally abusive at times. After 14 years and extensive counseling (and the psychiatrist telling me that the odds of her improving are slim), I need to get out. Our daughter is 8 and very well balanced in all regards.

OK has a fair parenting law which states (in principle) that custody should be shared and time together should be 50/50 unless there are some strong reasons to give one parent shared custody.

After all the problems started with my wife (more accurately, after they flared up), I filed for divorce in January. My wife convinced me to drop it (against my attorney's advice) a few days later.

My wife has told my daughter that I'm unfaithful (but she doesn't understand), but my daughter would have no other way of knowing about it. My wife is also threatening to tell my employer, family, friends, etc about it.

Questions:
1. Will my mistake hurt me in court when we get to the temporary custody hearing?
2. My plan is to stay in the house until I get her to sign an agreement saying that we'll each have 50% of my daughter's time. If she signs this, am I OK to move out?

socrateaser

>I am planning to divorce my wife in OK. She is a decent
>mother, but becomes verbally abusive at times. After 14 years
>and extensive counseling (and the psychiatrist telling me that
>the odds of her improving are slim), I need to get out. Our
>daughter is 8 and very well balanced in all regards.
>
>OK has a fair parenting law which states (in principle) that
>custody should be shared and time together should be 50/50
>unless there are some strong reasons to give one parent shared
>custody.
>
>After all the problems started with my wife (more accurately,
>after they flared up), I filed for divorce in January. My wife
>convinced me to drop it (against my attorney's advice) a few
>days later.
>
>My wife has told my daughter that I'm unfaithful (but she
>doesn't understand), but my daughter would have no other way
>of knowing about it. My wife is also threatening to tell my
>employer, family, friends, etc about it.
>
>Questions:
>1. My plan is to stay in the house until I get her to sign an
>agreement saying that we'll each have 50% of my daughter's
>time. If she signs this, am I OK to move out?

No. No agreement between you and your spouse re custody is valid without the court ordering it. So, unless the court agrees and signs off, you stay put.


mistoffolees

Being new to this, I'm a littie confused. Can you please explain in a little more detail? OK has a statute that presumes 50:50 parenting in the absence of proof that the other parent is unfit. If my wife and I reach an agreement that we plan to split my daughter's time 50:50 right from the start and plan to ask the court for a 50:50 split, is it likely that the court would not honor that?

Thanks.

I appreciate your willingness to help people with sticky situations here.

socrateaser

>Being new to this, I'm a littie confused. Can you please
>explain in a little more detail? OK has a statute that
>presumes 50:50 parenting in the absence of proof that the
>other parent is unfit. If my wife and I reach an agreement
>that we plan to split my daughter's time 50:50 right from the
>start and plan to ask the court for a 50:50 split, is it
>likely that the court would not honor that?

Courts overwhelmingly support the status quo when it comes to custody disputes -- especially during the pendency of the dissolution. Once you move out, your spouse can refuse to grant you custody time with the kids, and then you'll have to go to court to get it. Unfortunately, having moved out, the judge will probably determine that the status quo pending final judgment of dissolution favoars the parent living in the home, and he/she will order it.

Since you cannot appeal a temporary custoy order, this will set up a new status quo, and when it comes time for final judgment the court will use this as an excuse to overrule the statute.

I haven't read the OK statute, and I'm not an expert in OK family law. However, my experience is that courts can and do get around any statutory custody requirements -- so, if your plan is to move out, then you'ld better get a WRITTEN confirmation from your attorney that your actions will not affect your right to 50/50 parenting time and custody during the pendency of the dissolution, as well as at final judgment.

I'm making a gentleman's bet with you right now, that your attorney will refuse to provide such a confirmation.

Rule #1 in family law. The person who has de facto day to day custody of the kids when he/she goes to court, wins. PERIOD (unless the other parent is a serial killer).

mistoffolees

Actually, the attorney said it was OK for me to move out as soon as my wife signed an agreement saying that we would share custody 50:50 (but she hasn't done so in writing).

If I understand your position, if I were to get my rental house ready, get my wife to agree to share 50:50 (alternate weeks) and then get her to let take my daughter with me for the first week, would that address your concerns? I certainly don't want to take any chances here.

williaer

I think he's saying stay put, or all bets are off.

This is my highly not legal position- but the way you are talking is already working against you...have your wife"let" your daughter be with you the first week- why can't your daughter come and live at your new house with you and then you can "let" her visit with her mom from there. As Soc said- it's all about establishing the staus quo...

mistoffolees

So then in your view, if it is completely intolerable to stay in the same house, it would be preferable to get my rental house ready and have my daughter stay in the family home and my wife and I share the rental house in alternate weeks? And I should take the first week in the family home?

williaer

It sounds like you are in a VERY tough situation. What do you think your daughter wants to do?

williaer

I shouldn't have offered you advice- I just hate it when one parent is made to feel like they have to "ask" the other to "let" them do something with the child. I just wanted to give you the nudge to stick up for your rights as an equal parent. I wish you the best- listen to Soc, he knows the law and what to tell you...we're just the cheering section!

mistoffolees

Since my daughter is 8, her wishes aren't likely to have much impact. It's very clear to me, though, that the best thing for her is 50:50 split time between us. She's actually closer to me (much closer in terms of interests and I spend a lot of time taking her to the zoo, library, etc) and sometimes get very upset at her mother's rages. Still, as long as her mother doesn't get any worse, I don't think cutting off contact with her mother would be helpful.