Grandparents often play a special role in a child’s life, but that role can become challenging when a child’s parents divorce, pass away or become incarcerated. As a result, a grandparent may find themselves suddenly separated from their grandchild and looking for a way to maintain a presence in their life. They must start by filing a petition requesting visitation with the grandchild.
While the bond between a grandparent and their grandchild may be strong, a grandparent must meet all of the required elements of Oklahoma law if they wish to secure visitation rights. This means first showing that there has been a disruption in the grandchild’s nuclear family, such as divorce, separation or, in situations where a grandparent had a pre-existing relationship with the child, a parent’s felony incarceration or death. A court will not decide on granting visitation rights until it has been established that the family unit has been disrupted.
Even if the grandparents cannot prove that the parents are unfit, they could still meet the statutory requirements by showing clear and convincing evidence to the court that the child would suffer harm without visitation with their grandparents.
Grandparents will also need to demonstrate that their involvement will create a positive impact on the child’s life and that there will be no negative repercussions from granting visitation. In other words, they must show that visitation will be in the child’s best interests.
When evaluating the child’s best interests, the court will consider factors such as:
When the court grants visitation to a grandparent, it remains until the order is modified or the child is no longer a minor. If a parent violates the terms of the visitation agreement, the grandparent can file a petition asking the court to enforce the terms of the visitation agreement.
If you are looking to gain visitation rights in order to see your grandchild, Lindsey Law Firm, P.C. can help. Call 918-587-0097 or contact the firm online to schedule your free initial consultation. The office is located in downtown Tulsa, just two blocks from the courthouse.