Grandparent Rights & Visitation
Grandparents do not have a constitutional right to see their grandchildren. Fortunately, Oklahoma has a statute that may allow for court-ordered visitation.
In order for a grandparent to receive court-ordered visitation in Oklahoma, a grandparent must show three things:
- It is the best interest of the child to have visitation with the grandparent.
- The grandchild’s parent is unfit, or if the grandchild has a fit parent, the grandchild would still suffer potential harm without visitation with the grandparents.
- The intact child’s nuclear family has been disrupted.
Best Interest of Child to Have Visitation with Grandparent
In determining the best interest of the child, the court will look at the following primary factors:
- Whether or not the grandparent has a preexisting relationship with the grandchild;
- Does the grandchild want to have a relationship with the grandparent;
- Does the grandparent encourage for the grandchild to have a close relationship with the child’s parents;
- What are the motivations of the grandparent for seeking visitation;
- What previous efforts has the grandparent taken to visit the grandchild;
- Why a parent would not allow the grandparent visitation prior to court action;
- The mental and physical health of the grandparent, the grandchild and parent;
- Is the child in a stable family unit and environment;
- What type of character do others have who visit the home that may interact with the grandchild;
- How much visitation time is the grandparent requesting and the impact on the grandchild’s activities.
The Child’s Parent is Unfit, or the Child will likely Suffer Harm by not Visiting with the Grandparent
This is the most difficult for Grandparents to prove in Court. If a Grandparent believes a parent is unfit, a Guardianship may be a better option to consider.
A Court will often find a parent unfit if the parent:
- has a drug abuse problem,
- has a history of violent behavior or domestic abuse,
- has a mental illness,
- has failed to provide the child with proper care, guidance and support to the actual detriment of the child
- demonstrates conduct them unable or unwilling to give a child reasonable parental care.
If a parent is not found to be unfit, a grandparent must show that a lack of visitation would be harmful to the child by providing evidence in support. Often this may require an expert witness that can testify to the child’s needs.
Family has been Disrupted
Before filing for visitation a grandparent must show that the child’s family has been disrupted. This often means the parents have divorced but can also mean that a parent has been incarcerated.
Firm’s Primary Geographical Practice Region For Grandparent Rights Matters
Pryor, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Claremore, Oklahoma, Jay, Oklahoma, Shawnee, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Rogers County, Oklahoma, Wagoner County, Oklahoma, Mayes County, Oklahoma, Delaware County, Oklahoma, Tulsa County, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie County, Oklahoma and Oklahoma County, Oklahoma.