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Visitation Rights For Grandparents in Oklahoma?

grandparenets visitation in oklahomaWhether grandparents should receive visitation rights or not is highly debatable. Parents have the primary right to determine how their children are raised, but many states provide certain rights for grandparents as well. This article explores the basics of visitation rights for grandparents in Oklahoma.

Unfortunately, when the relationship between mother and father sours, grandparent often find themselves at the mercy of the parents in regards to seeing their grandchildren. Fortunately, grandparents can petition to the court to receive visitation rights in Oklahoma. However, like with child custody and visitation rights between parents, visitation rights for grandparents will be decided in accordance with what the courts believes is in the best interest of the child.

Oklahoma recognizes the rights of parents to raise their children and will typically not interfere as long as the parents are deemed fit to raise their own children. But, if a parent is deemed unfit and/or absent, for instance where there is drug abuse, incarceration or  premature death, the state recognizes the right of the child to have a relationship with his or her the grandparents on that side of the family and encourages this relationship through grandparent’s visitation rights.

Grandparents Visitation Rights in Oklahoma

Visitation rights for grand parents in Oklahoma are determined based on:

  1. What is in the best interest of the child, for which the court will evaluate at least 14 predetermined factors, which include:
    • the grandparent’s preexisting relationship with the child;
    • the benefit in maintaining the preexisting relationship;
    • the stability of the child’s family unit and environment;
    • the ages and preference of the child; and
    • the parent’s reasons for denying visitation.
  1. Parental unfitness or clear and convincing evidence from the grandparents that the parents are not acting in the best interest of the child, or that the child would suffer harm without the grandparents having visitation rights.
  1. A disruption in the child’s nuclear family, meaning that family structure in which the child resides is no longer intact, due to divorce, separation or because the parents were never married

All three of these elements must be met in order for the grandparent(s) to receive visitation rights and filing a case for visitation without meeting any one of these requirements is usually discouraged.

The child’s parents may agree on there own to grant or deny visitation to the grandparent(s). Either way , it will be assumed that the parents are fit and acting in the best interest of their children, unless proven otherwise. In  cases where one parent wants the grandparent to receive visitation rights and the other does not, the determination will be made by the court based on what it finds is in the best interest of the child. For more detailed information on receiving visitation rights as a grandparent, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney.

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