06.26.2024 Newsletters Doerner

Legal Rights of Grandparents Explained: A Family Law Guide

grandparents rights in oklahoma

Around 69% of Americans believe it’s important for grandparents to have a close relationship with their grandchildren. This number speaks volumes, but what happens when an extended family doesn’t get along?

Do grandparents have rights in Oklahoma? Oklahoma family law is very specific in cases like this. 

In certain circumstances, grandparents can petition the court for visitation. Keep reading to learn more about legal rights for grandparents. 

What Rights Do Grandparents Have in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, the law favors parents’ rights to choose how to raise their children. This includes deciding who they do or do not spend time with. 

For grandparents, this means you can’t automatically visit your grandchildren. However, the court can grant visitation or even custody in certain circumstances.

When Can the Court Order Visitation for Grandparents?

Though this area of law is very nuanced, generally, in Oklahoma the court can grant visitation when the following three circumstances apply:

  1. The nuclear family is no longer intact. 
  2. Grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interest. 
  3. One or both of the child’s parents are unfit, or denying grandparental visitation would cause the child to suffer harm or potential harm.

It’s important to note that simply being a grandparent does not automatically guarantee visitation rights. The court prioritizes the parent’s constitutional rights to raise their child as they see fit, as well as the child’s best interest when making decisions regarding grandparent visitation or custody.

What’s the Process to Get Visitation Rights in Oklahoma?

The process typically begins by filing a verified petition with the court outlining your request for visitation with your grandchildren. This document should detail why you are seeking visitation and how it is in the child’s best interest.

Grandparents should file the petition in the same county where the child or custodial parent lives. The only exception is if there is already an existing case involving the child (this could include child custody or divorce proceedings). In that case, the petition should be filed in the same court as the existing case.

After filing the petition, it must be properly served on the child’s parents. The judge will schedule a hearing, and during that hearing, the grandparent will have the burden of proving that all required criteria are met.

When appearing in court, be prepared to articulate your reasons for requesting visitation with your grandchildren clearly and concisely. The judge will consider various factors, such as the relationship between you and the child, potential harm from denying access, and what is ultimately in the child’s best interest.

How Can an Attorney Help?

Filing for grandparents’ rights in Oklahoma is complex, and you must follow specific procedures. A family law attorney can help you understand your rights as a grandparent under Oklahoma law.

They will explain the legal framework surrounding grandparent visitation in a way that is easy to comprehend. This knowledge can empower you to make informed decisions throughout the legal process.

Fight for Your Grandparents Rights in Oklahoma

Grandparents play a vital role in a child’s life and are a source of love and support for future generations. Are you ready to fight for grandparental rights in Oklahoma? 

Doerner is ready to advocate for you. Since 1896, we’ve built valued and trusted relationships with our clients and community. We have the experience you need to navigate complex legal concerns. 

Contact us today to discuss your case.