What are my odds of keeping my house and gaining 50/50 custody of our children?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
I’ll answer your question in two parts: first, with property division, and then secondly, the custody issue.
In regards to the house and any other property division, in Oklahoma, where I am licensed to practice, it does not matter how long you were together prior to marriage in order to determine property division. The court looks to see what was acquired during the marriage and divides it equitably.
Whatever was purchased prior to marriage, or any debt that was assumed prior to the marriage and is in your separate name, would most likely be considered separate property. This may be a different situation with your home, however.
If both of you are on the title and mortgage, and it was acquired together, then most likely you would need to split the equity in the home in order to stay in the home. Essentially, you would have to buy her out of her portion of the equity. The facts of this could change, however, depending on your exact situation.
In regards to obtaining 50/50 custody with your children, here in Oklahoma, there is a statute that favors 50/50 custody with both parents. However, 50/50 custody can mean different things. There is a difference between 50/50 (or joint) legal custody of your children and 50/50 physical custody of your children. The two are often confused.
Legal custody is the legal decision making power of your children, i.e. where they go to school, where they go to the doctor, if/where they go to church, etc. Courts in Oklahoma favor joint legal custody, as they want both parents to be involved.
Physical custody is the actual physical time you spend with your children. With 50/50 physical custody of your children, sometimes that can be hard to obtain, depending on the law favoring or disfavoring fathers in your state.
In Oklahoma, there is a specific statute that favors joint legal custody and joint physical custody of the children. A lot of factors can weigh in on both the legal and physical custody of your children, however. Such as, who the normal primary caretaker is, a child’s preference, the relationship of child with the parent, the needs of the child and the ability of the parent to provide, the willingness of a parent to facilitate the relationship with the child and other parent, if a parent has mental issues or dependencies on drugs or alcohol, etc. The list is never-ending.