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Video Transcribed: This is Tulsa attorney Justin Mosteller with the Wirth Law Office and you’re watching part five of a multi-part series I’m doing on domestic violence in Oklahoma.
Today’s installment concerns grandparents. What should a grandparent do when their child is the victim of domestic violence? Now, grandparents’ rights has been a particular focus of my law practice over the last several years.
As a result of some things in my personal life, I lost a couple of grandparents, made me realize how fortunate I was to have them in my life and the profound impact that they made on it. It made me very passionate about making sure that children in Oklahoma are given that opportunity.
So as a result I have been doing a lot of grandparent visitation litigation all over the state and that has put me into contact with a particular fact scenario that is very common and is something that I thought I should provide a little bit of information about online today.
Unfortunately a scenario that many grandparents across the State of Oklahoma find themselves in and it’s hard to know what to do.
Obviously the first thing that you want to do is you try to reach out to your daughter. You try to provide them with resources and help.
It might be a mistake to provide marriage counseling as the first option and it’s a mistake I’ve seen a lot of people make. When someone is being abused physically and mentally by a partner, marriage counseling towards reconciliation is not where you need to go.
The number one thing is safety so focus on that. Sorry for a little bit of a detour there, but that’s something that I want to address with everyone in this topic.
Do your best to try to intervene and step in there and intervene now so that others don’t have to intervene later for your daughter’s safety and in particular for the safety of the minor grandchildren because every day those children are in an environment where violence is a possibility, damage is being done.
That brings us to the next phase, which is if that intervention with your daughter does not work at that point it’s time to consider whether to pursue a temporary guardianship.
Filing a guardianship petition, this scenario would mean saying that your daughter and your son-in-law are unfit parents because they are exposing the child or children to domestic violence.
Exposure of children to domestic violence is profoundly serious and on its own would be enough for the courts to create a guardianship and give authority to someone else to act as a guardian for those children until the parents are able to show that they corrected the conditions that led to the guardianship and at that point the guardianship would be dissolved.
So it’s not like an adoption, it’s more temporary than that. That is the type of situation where a guardianship is very appropriate.
If you find yourself in that unfortunate situation, reach out to me, I’d love to help you. You can find me online in the Oklahoma Grandparent’s Facebook group. You can reach me at the Wirth Law Office at (918) 932-2800. Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.