If you were divorced or had a child custody decision made in another state and then you or the other parent moved with the children to Oklahoma, you will need to have jurisdiction transferred to Oklahoma before you can change or enforce the orders of the other Court.
For example, if you were divorced in North Carolina, and the other parent was granted primary custody and moved with the child to Oklahoma a year ago and now they’re stopping you from having visitation, you can’t have the case heard in North Carolina because the children and the primary custodian live in Oklahoma. You will need to have jurisdiction transferred to Oklahoma and have the courts of Oklahoma make the decisions about changing or enforcing custody and visitation with your children.
How do I get Jurisdiction Changed to Oklahoma?
The process for getting jurisdiction transferred is fairly straightforward.
First, the children need to have lived in Oklahoma for at least six months before we can change jurisdiction to Oklahoma.
We will need a certified copy of your Decree of Divorce or the Child Custody Orders from the other state where you and your children lived before. We will draft and file a Petition to Enter the Foreign Decree into the jurisdiction of Oklahoma, and will attach a copy of the Decree to it. We will also file an Affidavit pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), which states the places where the children have lived for the past five years, and shows who has had custody of them and with whom they have lived. We will also get from you a notarized affidavit showing that the copy of the Decree or Court Order is accurate and true. Finally, we will send an order to the Court after the documents have been filed, so that the Court can sign the order accepting the foreign decree and transferring jurisdiction over that Decree officially to Oklahoma.
Once we have all of the documents prepared, we will file them with the Court. The other parent of the children will have to be served, either by process server or by certified U.S. mail, with a copy of all of the documents after they are filed. We will also send notice to the other parent that they have twenty days in which to object to the Decree being registered and accepted within the State of Oklahoma. If the other parent does not object, then the Decree from another state is automatically accepted in Oklahoma, and the Court will sign and enter the Order Admitting Foreign Decree.
If the child’s other parent does object to the Decree being admitted in Oklahoma and Oklahoma courts having jurisdiction, he or she will need to prove that there is some reason why the Decree that you have filed with the Court is invalid. For example, they can say that the copy that we filed with the Court is not a true copy, or that there are written additions that were not filed with the original Court. Or they can prove some reason why the Oklahoma Court should not accept jurisdiction, such as showing that they and the child have not lived in Oklahoma for six months, or that their residence here is temporary. If the other parent objects, then a hearing will be scheduled by the Court, and we will have to appear before the judge and show why the judge should take our side and assume jurisdiction. However, the child’s other parent rarely objects to the Decree being admitted in Oklahoma: and most jurisdiction transfers are uncontested.
After Jurisdiction Is Transferred, What Then?
After jurisdiction has been transferred to Oklahoma, you will need to request the Court to modify or enforce the Decree that was made in the other state. You will have to show the Court why it should change custody or visitation, or show the Court that the other parent has been refusing visitation. Whatever your underlying cause is for needing the Court to assume Jurisdiction, you will have to file new documents with the Court and move forward with that action. We can help you with that, too.