Underlying Facts Matter Most In A Custody Case
Video Transcribed: Can I get custody, even if the divorce was my fault? I’m Tulsa Divorce Attorney James Wirth. That’s the question that we have. As it relates to Oklahoma law if the divorce is your fault, does that mean you can’t get custody?
The answer to that is no, and it doesn’t mean that. They are two completely separate issues. There could be some overlap there. I mean, ultimately, just because the court determines that you’re at fault for the divorce, if the court makes that determination, the great majority, a super majority of divorces in the state of Oklahoma, are granted based on irreconcilable differences, irreconcilable incompatibility, where no fault is determined.
However, if the other side does allege fault, they could push that forward. If the court does determine there was fault for the divorce, that does not automatically affect anything else in the case. It doesn’t automatically affect spousal support, property division, custody visitation, or child support. It doesn’t have an effect on any of those automatically.
However, there are some faults where they meet the requirements and may also meet needs elsewhere. If there’s been extreme cruelty, and that’s the grounds for divorce, well, maybe that’s part of domestic violence.
Domestic violence, particularly if the kids have been subjected to it, creates presumptions related to custody that can go against you. But it’s not that the divorce was granted because of fault. It’s the fact that there was domestic violence that the court determined existed, and it affected the children. That’s the difference there.
Another one would be habitual drunkenness. That can be a ground for a fault divorce. The fact that a fault divorce is granted for that makes no difference in custody. But suppose the other side establishes that you’ve been drunk around the children and haven’t been a good caregiver. In that case, the court will consider that when determining the best interest regarding custody and visitation.
To answer the question, technically, it has no difference. To answer the question practically depends on the underlying facts, how they are presented, and what the judge believes. If you’ve been a danger to the children and that danger you’ve been to children qualifies as both a danger to the children and a technical grounds for fault divorce, then it’s going to be applicable.
Hopefully, that answers your question, but if not, talk to a Child Custody Attorney in Oklahoma about your specific circumstances and get legal advice personalized to you. To get that scheduled or to contact an attorney in my office to get that advice, go to makelaweasy.com.