If I Die, Will My Ex Get Custody under Oklahoma Law?
If I die, will my ex get custody? I’m Tulsa attorney James Wirth, and that is the question that we have. In the state of Oklahoma, if the parent, the main parent, the custodial parent dies, does the child automatically go to the other parent? And the answer to that is generally yes.
So if, it depends on the circumstances what rights are established, but if mom is the sole custodian and she passes away, nobody else is automatically gonna have rights except for the dad. The dad’s gonna have some constitutional rights. The level of those rights is gonna depend on the history. Were they married? Is it the divorce decree that grants certain rights? Does he have joint custody? Does he just have visitation rights? Were they never married and there’s no custody order in place?
Regardless of what happens, if the main custodial parent dies, the first thing that’s gonna be looked at is the other parent. So if you don’t want that to happen, what can be done? There’s nothing you can be done ahead of time to make sure it doesn’t happen, but what you can do is you can have estate planning documents. And those estate planning documents can indicate your wishes in there.
Options for Protecting Your Child’s Custody
And it can have a wish that certain people be appointed as guardian of your child. Now, that gives certain weight to the court, but it is not automatic. The people that you want to have guardianship, whether that be a grandparent or a friend, they would still need to file with the court for guardianship. And it’s not enough for them to show that the child would be better with them than the other parent. They’ve gotta show that the other parent is unavailable or unfit. So it can be a high burden.
So it’s certainly not guaranteed, but the best thing you can do, do estate planning documents, indicate your preference in there, maybe put some reasons why. If you’ve got concerns regarding the other parent may be a danger, document those so they can be utilized in the unfortunate event if that were to occur. And whoever you want to step up, make sure they know that they’ve gotta step up and file for that guardianship and prove the other parent to be unfit.
Get a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Specific Circumstances
So hopefully that answers your question. If you’ve got more questions or you want a consult so you can get legal advice specific to your circumstances, you can go online, get that scheduled. Go online to makelaweasy.com.