Grandparents’ Rights Do Exist in Oklahoma
Video Transcribed: Are grandparents entitled to visitation in Oklahoma? I’m Tulsa grandparents attorney James Wirth, and that’s the question that we have is are grandparents entitled to visitation? This is a question about grandparent’s rights, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from people dealing with DHS, where the DHS representative or some other person has told them, there are no grandparent’s rights in Oklahoma.
I’ve had so many people say that there are no grandparent’s rights, and that is just not true. Grandparents’ rights do exist in Oklahoma. That doesn’t mean they apply to every scenario. Certainly, they don’t because the constitutional rights of the parents come first, but grandparent’s rights do exist.
In fact, there’s a statute on it. It is Title 43, Section 109.4, and it says grandparent’s rights… I’m sorry, visitation rights of grandparents of an unmarried minor. There’s a statute particularly involving grandparent’s rights. It does exist in Oklahoma, but it’s not available to everybody.
Who is it available to? Well, first off, there has to be some disruption of the nuclear family. The parents of the child, if they are still together in a relationship living with that child and they are fit then, at that point, if they both agree that this grandparent should not have any time with the child, then that’s going to be the way that it is because the first thing you have to show us that the nuclear family is not intact.
It has been disrupted. There’s been a divorce, a separation, a parent has died. Anything along those lines, if there’s a disruption. There’s a whole list of different ways you can get to demonstrate that disruption, but that’s the first element that you need.
The second one needs to be in the best interest of the child. The court has to find, based on the evidence, that is in the best interest of the child for the grandparent to have visitation rights granted. And then, there’s the third one. This is the most difficult one to meet, and that is parental unfitness.
However, if you have parental unfitness, rather than filing under grandparent’s rights, you need to be filing for guardianship if you can handle that responsibility.
But either show parental unfitness or show by clear and convincing evidence that the child would suffer harm or potential harm without the granting of grandparent’s rights. If those things are present, then you trigger the grandparent’s rights statute, and you are entitled to the grandparent’s rights.
Grandparents’ rights do exist. You may be entitled to them if you can fit those requirements under the statute. Otherwise, not so much. If you’ve got questions about your specific circumstances though, you’re going to want to talk to an attorney about that. To schedule something with an attorney at my office, go online to makelaweasy.com.