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Can I Transfer Child Custody in Oklahoma Without a Court Order?

child custody in OklahomaThe Tulsa, Oklahoma legislature passed HR 2536 in 2014 in an effort to help families in crisis. Now codified as Okla. Stat. tit. 10 § 700-701, the statute allows a custodial parent to temporarily delegate child custody in Oklahoma to another person via an executed power of attorney.

This allows a custodial parent a quick and inexpensive way to delegate or transfer child custody in Oklahoma without having to obtain a court order. Before this bill was enacted, the only way to temporarily transfer child custody in Oklahoma was through a costly guardianship proceeding.

FAQ: Transferring Child Custody in Oklahoma

For the family who finds themselves suddenly homeless, this can allow the parent to have their child cared for at a facility or by another trusted adult, often a grandparent, without the involvement of the foster care system and without being labeled as “unfit.”

The Tulsa power of attorney may be effective for as little as 24 hours or for as long as one year. It allows the person to whom temporary custody is being transferred to do such routine tasks as to enroll a child in school, and to sign consent forms at school such as those needed to take class field trips. It also allows the person to consent to routine medical care for a child, with some limitations.

There Are Some Limitations You Should Know About

The effective time period of the transfer of child custody in Oklahoma is limited to one year. If the parent wants to extend the temporary custody transfer at the end of that year, the parent must execute a new power of attorney.

Because this is a voluntary transfer, the maker may revoke the power of attorney at any time. This allows the parent to retain control.

The power of attorney does not extend to consent to marriage, adoption, abortion, or to terminate the granting parent’s rights. These decisions rest solely with the parent and cannot be delegated through this process.

Most important to the parent, the granting of the power of attorney does not deprive the parent of any legal authority regarding the care and custody of the minor child or constitute abandonment – unless the parent or legal custodian fails to make contact or execute a new power of attorney after the one year time limit has elapsed.

Potential Issues in Transferring Child Custody

It is unclear how this new law affects existing law regarding other issues regarding child custody in Oklahoma and visitation issues. For example, it is unclear how this new law affects existing custodial orders.

Can the parent who seeks to transfer custody only grant the “amount” or quality of custody they hold to the third party? What happens to the child if the delegating parent passes away?

What power does the temporary guardian have then and how does the temporary guardian then seek help? What happens if the temporary guardian is an abuser or has allowed the child to come to harm in some way?

It will likely take the court system time to sort through these issues as they arise. In the meantime, the procedure provides a good alternative to costly judicial intervention when the need for a temporary change of custody arises.

Free Consultation: Tulsa Child Custody Attorney

For a free consultation about any issue related to child custody in Oklahoma or another family law matter, call the Divorce of Tulsa Law Office today at 918-924-5526.