Domestic Violence in Oklahoma
Under Oklahoma law, domestic abuse is defined as any act of physical harm, sexual assault, or the threats of imminent physical harm or assault committed by a person over the age of 13 against a family member, household member, or intimate partner. Household member includes current and former spouses, roommates, and relatives.
Domestic violence is a serious problem in Oklahoma. Our state ranks third in the nation among women killed by men as a result of domestic violence. Because of this epidemic, Oklahoma courts take allegations of domestic violence very seriously. Accusations can not only lead to a criminal conviction, but can also cause you to lose custody of your children and have a protective order filed against you.
Child Custody and Domestic Violence
The main concern in any custody decision is the safety and well-being of the child. In Oklahoma, there is a legal presumption that a parent engaging in domestic abuse, stalking, or harassing behavior should not have custody of the child. In custody battles, the judge will consider any history of domestic violence. If there is a history of domestic violence, the judge can place certain restrictions on visitation or parental rights.
Allegations of domestic abuse are very common in child custody cases. As much as the courts take them very seriously, they are also aware of some parents making false allegations to gain a strategic advantage. Even though the judge’s decision will ultimately depend on all of the facts and circumstances of your case, any allegation of domestic violence can have a serious impact on the outcome.
Supervised visitation is court-ordered visitation between the non-custodial parent and the child in the presence of a third-party. The third-party is basically responsible for supervising the visitation and making sure the child is safe during the visitation.
Sometimes the court will allow a friend or relative to supervise visitations. If the parties do not agree to have a friend or relative supervise, a trained professional supervisor will have to facilitate visitations.
If a parent has been convicted of a domestic violence charge or there is a protective order in place, the judge may order supervised visitation for the abuser parent. The judge may also place the following limits on the abuser:
- Complete a batterers intervention program
- Avoid alcohol or controlled substances
- Obtain a mental health/danger/drug and alcohol assessment
- Get tested for drugs and/or alcohol
- Attend classes
- Supervised visitations by a trained professional only
Termination of Parental Rights
In circumstances of extreme abuse, the abuser parent’s parental rights can be terminated. What this means is the abuser parent will lose all rights as a parent and all access to the child permanently. Once parental rights have been terminated, it cannot be undone.
Parental rights may be terminated when a parent:
- Murdered or attempted to murder the child
- Murdered or attempted to murder the child’s other parent
- Sexually assaulted any child
- Committed felony assault resulting in serious bodily harm on the child
- Committed felony assault resulting in serious bodily harm on the child’s other parent
Criminal Consequences of Domestic Violence in Oklahoma
Domestic abuse is a crime in Oklahoma defined as assault and battery committed against a family member, household member, or current or past intimate partner. The first offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine up to $5,000. Second or subsequent conviction is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.
Many factors contribute to an increased punishment in domestic violence cases. For example, in instances where there is evidence of a prior pattern of physical abuse or the domestic abuse is committed in the presence of a child or against a pregnant woman, the penalties can increase significantly.
Oklahoma Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously in Oklahoma and can have a devastating impact on your family, especially in the event of a divorce. To learn more about how domestic violence can affect custody and visitation rights in Oklahoma or for assistance with your case, schedule a confidential and free evaluation with Edge Divorce, LLC.