Divorce is often cited as one of the most stressful events an individual will ever experience. A parent experiencing a divorce is understandably preoccupied with the event, may harbor animosity toward the other parent, and is experiencing a significant amount of distress. Children are without question significantly impacted by the separation of their family and the end of their atomic family unit.
Divorce With Children
As the rate of marriage has decreased, childbearing and coupling have not. The unwed birthrate has dramatically increased in recent years, and by 2010 it was at 40.3%. Many parents who are living outside a marriage relationship may not share child-rearing responsibilities comparable to a married couple, therefore domestic courts are left to structure a parenting plan which may not have any familial precedence to look to for guidance, and in other cases the parenting plan may be created at the birth of the child leaving the creation of the parenting plan to the biases, whims, and judgments of the court without any evidence to support the parenting style of either parent.
Only 34 percent of children born in the United States in 2000 will be living with both parents in the same house by age 18, according to some projections. Further projections estimate only fourteen percent of fathers winning custody of their children, and only twenty-five percent of children of divorce seeing their father weekly or more.
Few issues within the domestic courts are as fraught with emotion and lead to prolonged litigation like those of disagreements over custody and parenting time. Good parents are often blinded by the emotions of the moment and fail to recognize the need to jointly parent their children. This leaves the courts to protect the parents’ equal rights to the children, but without a proper statutory framework, too many parents find parental equality an illusion when they step into a family law courtroom. This is in spite of the fact that recent studies and reports such as The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), the “Warshak Consensus” paper,1 and others have concluded that children are best served when parenting plans facilitate shared parenting and time between parents.
How is Child Support Calculated in High Net Worth Cases?
In most cases, a child support computation is statutorily defined so long as husband and wife make less than $15,000.00 in combined gross (pretax) income. However, in cases where monthly income is above this $15,000.00 combined amount, the computation of child support is left to the discretion of the court, and as such, will vary significantly on a case-by-case basis. While most guidelines for child support cases reflect a level of income that is likely to continue at the same levels existing at the time of the award, how much to award when those levels are likely to change, such as in the case of a professional athlete, is an open question requiring a different method of computation and additional considerations.
The institution of common-law marriage is the process in which a couple can be considered legally married without actually registering their marriage officially. The practice has rapidly been diminishing throughout the country, and the handful of states that still allow it have been in the process of abolishing it, including Oklahoma.
As a divorcing parent, you might have already anticipated what to do about child custody and child support. But if you are like so many other parents going through a divorce in Oklahoma, you may have almost overlooked visitation rules. In our final installment of this blog series about what parents should know when divorcing, our Oklahoma City family lawyers take a closer look at visitation and everything it entails.