Last modified 6/5/2005 to replace Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, and Blaine counties' schedules and to modify the edit note for McClain and Garvin counties.

(1/7/05) – COURT ADMINISTRATOR VISITATION GUIDELINES


Pursuant to 43 O.S. §§111.1A, by January 1, 2005, the Administrative Director of the Courts was directed to develop “a standard visitation schedule and advisory guidelines which may be used by the district courts of this state as deemed necessary” and to “develop advisory guidelines for use by the district courts when parties to any action concerning the custody of a child are unable to mutually agree upon a visitation schedule.” The Administrative Director of the Courts has done so. Here's his cover memo to Court Clerks. These Guidelines are available below in WordPerfect, Microsoft Word, and PDF file formats. No “text” changes have been made to the Court Administrator’s product, but a few font and other formatting changes have been made for consistency purposes. Page breaks and overall length are different in the Word version than in the others. Click a link below for what you want:


WordPerfect version     Microsoft Word version    PDF version


CURRENTLY EXISTING VISITATION SCHEDULES & STATUTES

Visitation Statutes

County Visitation Index

Comparison Chart (PDF 156KB)

Melissa Sigman, my previous exceptional Assistant, was tireless and invaluable in producing this collection of Oklahoma Standard Visitation Schedules. She knew that a “statewide” schedule did not / does NOT exist but was kindly in her replies to some court clerks who have said, “Well, we just use the standard.” She dogged clerks, judges and their bailiffs in getting the raw data for this compilation. Without her unrelenting pursuit, this compilation would not have occurred. Melissa’s efforts have gotten pretty close to 100% in determining what schedules tend to be used in particular counties, if any at all. This document presents our report of visitation schedules used throughout Oklahoma.

NO District Court has formally adopted a “standard” visitation schedule by actual court rule. Instead, schedules have been adopted semi-officially by particular judges, counties, and, on at least one occasion by a Judicial District (the 9th - Logan & Payne counties). In some counties, officials acknowledged having standard schedules but were hard to pin down as to exactly what such schedules are (counties in the 20th Judicial District - Carter, Love, Johnston, Marshall and Murray). In other counties, no court-adopted schedules exist but typically used de facto schedules do - these schedules just "are". 61 counties have one or more schedules, official, semi-official, or de facto.

However, when our research was done in 2003 and 2004, Melissa and I were advised that no official or de facto schedule existed, even as a guide, in 16 counties: 10 in Northwest Oklahoma (Alfalfa, Cimarron, Dewey, Ellis, Harper, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Woods & Woodward); 3 in Northeast Oklahoma (Adair, Cherokee & Creek); 2 in Southeast Oklahoma (Atoka & Latimer); and 1 in Southwest Oklahoma (Washita).

The schedules included here were provided by court clerks, bailiffs, and judges, or in those instances that a formal or de facto standard schedule did not exist, by individual lawyers within the county. For each visitation schedule below, the source for that schedule is identified below the judge’s signature line. To each who has made a contribution, we extend our thanks.

Schedule content varies considerably. See Logan, Payne Jackson, Kay, and Blaine counties and Judge Hogshead’s Tulsa county schedules for the more innovative. The quantity of visitation over a two-year period varies drastically, ranging from Jefferson County’s 74 average annual visitation nights to 110 nights in Oklahoma and Kingfisher counties’ schedules. That’s a 36 night annual variance when averaged over two years’ time – more than a full month’s difference during a calendar year! Over 10 years’ time, that’s one full year of visitation variance! There is nothing “standard” in Oklahoma concerning a non-custodial parent’s visitation.

If you have information which varies from that contained here, please contact me to make corrections and/or additions: E-mail, loudenbk@swbell.net, or phone at 405-236-4004 or fax at 405-236-4114. Thanks! Doug Loudenback

OKLAHOMA STATUTES RELATING TO “STANDARD” VISITATION ISSUES

43 O.S. §111.1     43 O.S. §111.1A    43 O.S. §110.1


Statutes listed here relate to ESTABLISHMENT, not enforcement, of visitation

43 O.S. §111.1 Order to Provide Minimum Visitation for Noncustodial Parent-Violation of Order

A. 1. Any order providing for the visitation of a noncustodial parent with any of the children of such noncustodial parent shall provide a specified minimum amount of visitation between the noncustodial parent and the child unless the court determines otherwise.

2. Except for good cause shown and when in the best interests of the child, the order shall encourage additional visitations of the noncustodial parent and the child and in addition encourage liberal telephone communications between the noncustodial parent and the child.

        * * *

Comment: Until the adoption of 43 O.S. §111.1A, set forth below, and the publication of advisory visitation guidelines and standards, located at the top of this page, no such guidelines and standards existed in Oklahoma. The Court Administrator’s advisory guidelines were published on December 30, 2004, and have been mailed to all Oklahoma District Court Clerks. That said, Oklahoma statutes make no requirement that any particular “standard” schedule be used. As of this writing (1/9/2005), numerous district courts and/or individual judges within have adopted one or more (i.e., standard, long-distance, very young) schedules by unofficial local rule, and, even in the absence of the same, other counties have “accepted” de facto schedules which just “are” - here, these counties’ schedules are called “de facto”. In several other counties (16), neither a semi-official nor de facto standard schedule exists ... and in some of these counties our research indicates that a county may be quite militant about not having or wanting any “default” standard schedule at all. For those counties having SOME official, semi-official, or de facto schedule, all such counties are detailed in these pages. Such schedules vary considerably, ranging from a “low” of 74 visitation nights a year to a “high” of about 110.

43 O.S. §111.1A - Development and Periodic Review of Standard Visitation Schedule and Advisory Guidelines

      A.    By January 1, 2005, the Administrative Director of the Courts shall have developed a standard visitation schedule and advisory guidelines which may be used by the district courts of this state as deemed necessary.

      B.   The standard visitation schedule should include a minimum graduated visitation schedule for children under the age of five (5) years and a minimum graduated visitation schedule for children five (5) years of age through seventeen (17) years of age. In addition, the standard visitation schedule should address:

            1.   Midweek and weekend time-sharing;

            2.   Differing geographical residences of the custodian and noncustodian of the child requesting visitation;

            3.   Holidays, including Friday and Monday holidays;

            4.   Summer vacation break;

            5.   Midterm school breaks;

            6.   Notice requirements and authorized reasons for cancellations of visitation;

            7.   Transportation and transportation costs, including pick up and return of the child;

            8.   Religious, school, and extracurricular activities;

            9.   Grandparent and relative contact;

            10. The birthday of the child;

            11. Sibling visitation schedules;

            12. Special circumstances, including, but not limited to, emergencies; and

            13. Any other standards deemed necessary by the Administrative Director of the Courts.

      C.  1.   The Administrative Director of the Courts shall develop advisory guidelines for use by the district courts when parties to any action concerning the custody of a child are unable to mutually agree upon a visitation schedule.

            2.   The advisory guidelines should include the following considerations at a minimum:

                   a.   a preference for visitation schedules that are mutually agreed upon by both parents over a court-imposed solution,

                   b.   a visitation schedule which should maximize the continuity and stability of the life of the child,

                   c.   special considerations should be given to each parent to make the child available to attend family functions, including funerals, weddings, family reunions, religious holidays, important ceremonies, and other significant events in the life of the child or in the life of either parent which may inadvertently conflict with the visitation schedule,

                   d.   a visitation schedule which will not interrupt the regular school hours of the child,

                   e.   a visitation schedule should reasonably accommodate the work schedule of both parents and may increase the visitation time allowed to the noncustodial parent but should not diminish the standardized visitation schedule provided in Section 111.1 of Title 43 of the Oklahoma Statutes,

                   f.    a visitation schedule should reasonably accommodate the distance between the parties and the expense of exercising visitation,

                   g.   each parent should permit and encourage liberal electronic contact during reasonable hours and uncensored mail privileges with the child, and

                   h.   each parent should be entitled to an equal division of major religious holidays celebrated by the parents, and the parent who celebrates a religious holiday that the other parent does not celebrate shall have the right to be together with the child on the religious holiday.

      D.  The Administrative Director of the Courts shall:

            1.   Make the standard visitation schedule and advisory guidelines available to the district courts of this state; and

            2.   Periodically review and update the guidelines as deemed necessary.

Legislative History: Added by Laws 2004, HB 2528, c. 422, §1, emerg. eff. July 1, 2004.

Comment: By his December 30, 2004, cover memo to the state’s District Court Clerks, the Court Administrator has produced advisory guidelines and commentary, available above. I consider this to be a fine, and pioneering, piece of work which will hopefully be taken seriously by all judges and lawyers in this state.

As to temporary orders, another statute is important, 43 O.S. §110.1. It states:

43 O.S. §110.1 Policy for Equal Access to the Minor Children for Parents

It is the policy of this state to assure that minor children have frequent and continuing contact with parents who have shown the ability to act in the best interests of their children and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of rearing their children after the parents have separated or dissolved their marriage. To effectuate this policy, if requested by a parent, the court shall provide substantially equal access to the minor children to both parents at a temporary order hearing, unless the court finds that such shared parenting would be detrimental to such child. The burden of proof that such shared parenting would be detrimental to such child shall be upon the parent requesting sole custody and the reason for such determination shall be documented in the court record.

Legislative History: Added by Laws 1999, c. 301, §3, H.B. 1313, eff. Nov. 1, 1999; Amended by Laws 2001, HB 1885, c. 60, §1, eff. Nov. 1, 2001.

Comment: Varying from judge to judge, the above statute is either applied or ignored. Since temporary orders are not generally appealable, an individual judge has save harbor in following, or not, the above statute, since such orders are not reviewable while the main case (e.g., divorce) is pending. The Oklahoma Supreme Court has made it clear that it has no interest and/or willingness to review temporary orders in divorce cases. So, as practical matter, what the trial judge does is just the way that it is. That will remain the case unless and until the Oklahoma Legislature sees fit to change one or more existing statutes.


INDEX OF VISITATION SCHEDULES & RELATED DOCUMENTS


Last modified 6/5/2005 to replace Canadian, Cleveland, Comanche, and Blaine counties' schedules and to modify the edit note for McClain and Garvin counties.

Click on a link, below, to access a particular order county order or topic

Each item opens in a separate window in which you can print the document. Notes are at the end of each document.

“...(none)”, e.g., Adair (none), means the county doesn't even have a de facto (typical) schedule as far as we know.

“...(typical), e.g., Delaware (typical), means that a county has no official standard but has a typical schedule.


Adair (none)

Alfalfa (none)

Atoka (none)

Beaver

Beckham (typical)

Blaine

Bryan

Caddo

Canadian

Carter (J. Tate)

Carter (Standard?)

Carter (Expanded?)

Cherokee (none)

Choctaw

Cimarron (none)

Cleveland Standard

Cleveland Under 2

Coal

Comanche (J. Lewis)

Comanche (J. Aycock)

Comanche (JJ Smith
& McCall)

Cotton

Craig (typical)

Creek (none)

Custer

Delaware (typical)

Dewey (none)

Ellis (none)

Garfield

Garvin Standard

Garvin Under 2

Grady

Grant

Greer

Harmon

Harper (none)

Haskell

Hughes

Jackson

Jefferson

Johnston

Kay Standard

Kay Out-of-State

Kingfisher Standard

Kingfisher Under 3

Kiowa

Latimer (none)

Le Flore

Lincoln

Logan Standard

Logan Long Distance

Logan Very Young

Love (old)

Love (Standard ?)

Love (Expanded ?)

Major (none)

Marshall (old)

Marshall (new ?)

Marshall (Expanded ?)

Mayes (typical)

McClain Standard

McClain Under 2

McCurtain

McIntosh

Murray

Muskogee

Noble

Nowata (typical)

Okfuskee

Oklahoma

Okmulgee (typical)

Osage

Ottawa (typical)

Pawnee

Payne Standard

Payne Long Distance

Payne Very Young

Pittsburg

Pontotoc

Pottawatomie

Pushmataha

Roger Mills (none)

Rogers (typical)

Seminole

Sequoyah

Stephens (12/03)

Texas (none)

Tillman (typical)

Tulsa (J. Hogshead)

Wagoner

Washington (typical)

Washita (none)

Woods (none)

Woodward (none)

 

Miscellaneous Items

OBA pamphlet

Jewish Holidays

Statutes

Comparison (pdf)


Top