Child Custody Battles: How to Best Prepare and What to Expect

One of the most heart-wrenching aspects of divorce is determining the future of your children. The complexity of child custody battles is not just rooted in legal jargon, but in the raw emotions of wanting what’s best for your child while facing the reality of shared parenting or even limited access. As you approach a child custody battle, it’s important to be prepared for what to expect. 

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dealing with child custody battles

Types of Child Custody Arrangements

There are numerous types of child custody arrangements, and it’s not always as cut and dry as you’d like it to be.

For instance, the process and considerations for child custody in Oklahoma may differ from other states due to specific state laws and regulations. Let’s explore a few of the most common ones, with the understanding that each individual arrangement has unique circumstances specific to the child custody case at hand.

  • Joint custody. This is where both parents share parenting responsibilities and decision-making for the child. This arrangement works well for parents who are able to put differences aside and cooperate for the greater good of the child. Ideally, the courts like for there to be joint custody, though circumstances don’t always allow for it.


  • Sole custody. This is where one parent is given primary and legal custody of the child. While it’s still possible for the non-custodial parent to have visitation rights, they do not have any say in important matters related to the child. 


  • Physical custody. This type of custody pertains to where the child primarily lives. Physical custody arrangements are often influenced by logistical factors such as proximity to school and extracurricular activities.


  • Legal custody. This term refers to who has decision-making authority over the child’s upbringing. Even if there’s joint physical custody of the children, it’s possible that one parent will be deemed better equipped to make important decisions and, therefore, given full legal custody.

These are the four most common types of custody. However, there are other forms, including bird’s nest custody, split custody, unsupervised/supervised visitation, virtual visitation, etc. Don’t let this overwhelm you, but do catch yourself up to speed on which options exist.

What You Need to Know

Child custody is a big deal. As divorce attorney Rowdy G. Williams says, “I would argue that child custody is probably the most important factor to consider in a divorce. Spouses move on and have a chance to start fresh. For children, the effects of a divorce linger for a lifetime. Finding the best option for them is paramount to the case.”

With all of that being said, here are several things to be aware of and understand:

  • State laws vary. Each state has its own legal standards for determining child custody. Understanding these standards is crucial for building a strong case. Factors such as the child’s age, the parents’ financial situation, and the child’s relationship with each parent are often considered. Some states will prioritize joint custody arrangements, while others may lean towards sole custody based on factors like the child’s best interests.


  • Legal representation is a must. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. The right attorney can help you understand your rights, navigate the legal process, and present your case effectively.


  • Consider child-specific factors. No two cases are the same. Always consider child-specific factors when it comes to a child custody case. For example, stability and continuity are always preferred. And the relationship with individual parents matters. (If your child is very close with you and has been distanced from the other parent for the past year, this will work in your favor.) Then there’s the physical and mental health of each parent, safety concerns, and more.

Put Your Priorities in the Right Place

At the end of the day, this isn’t about you. That can be a hard pill to swallow, but it’s true. It’s all about what’s best for the child. In some instances, that means having full custody. In other situations, that might look like splitting custody. And, as challenging of an idea as it may be to embrace, that might even look like giving full custody to the other parent in extreme scenarios. The point is you have to do what’s best for your child. Hiring a skilled attorney will help you ensure the right interests are prioritized throughout the process.

All You Need To Know About Child Support

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