Equal Access, Equal Rights
Video Transcribed: Did you know that Oklahoma family law treats mothers and fathers equally in Oklahoma?’ I’m Oklahoma lawyer James Wirth and that’s a myth that we’re dealing with today, which is that fathers are at a disadvantage under the law in a family law court, and that is absolutely false.
The law itself, what’s written on paper and is supposed to be followed by the judges, actually has the law pretty equal in set up and does not make distinctions whether you’re the mother or the father for a preference of one or either. And there’s been new laws in the last couple of decades that have made that more clear.
For instance, Title 43, Section 110.1, and that is Policy for Equal Access to Minor Children by Parents. And it notes that it’s the policy of the state to assure that minor children are in frequent and continuing contact with parents, plural parents, both mother, and father, who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the children. And for that purpose, it says, “If requested by a parent, the court may provide substantially equal access to minor children, to both parents, at a temporary or final hearing, unless the court finds that shared parenting would be detrimental to the child.” So this essentially creates a preference, a presumption, in favor of joint custody and equal access, where it’s not against the best interest of the children. So that is one that favors both mothers and fathers and treats them equally.
And then brand new, just went into effect November 1st, 2022, provides that for children that are born outside of a marriage, but where the parents signed the birth certificate, that they acknowledge the paternity at the point of birth, gets them on the birth certificate, it says that that shall give the mother and father equal rights and obligations to the child. It’s set out there pretty clearly, Title 63, Section 1-311, says that “This shall give mother and father equal rights and obligations to the child.” So under the law, the rights of the parents are equal.
But sometimes you may get results that may not indicate that in the court system. So why does that happen? There are a number of different reasons. One, there is a little bit of bias in the favor of the fathers that think they may not get the right deal, so they may be willing to settle for something less than they could otherwise get based on what the law is. So if they don’t think they can get joint custody and equal access, they may be more willing to settle for something less as opposed to what a mother would. Also, there are still some judges that may have some prejudices out there but for the most part, the law treats them equally. So, fathers that want to have a say in their children, as far as joint custody, or want to have equal time with their parents, shouldn’t settle too early on that and they should know that the law treats them equally to mothers. So if they want to get an order that’s equal in time and in legal authority to their children, they shouldn’t settle for less.
So if you’re dealing with this circumstance, and have a question about a custody case, family law case, or the rights of a mother or a father, then you’re going to want to talk to an attorney specifically about your circumstances and do that confidentially with a lawyer in your area. To get that scheduled with a Tulsa child custody attorney at my office, you can go online to makelaweasy.com.