Oklahoma City Grandparents Rights Lawyer
Many of us have fond memories of our grandparents when we were young children. However, this is becoming less of the case in recent years as more families separate.
A close bond with grandparents has been found to have a positive impact on all those involved. Grandparent visitation is a win-win for all.
Unfortunately, there are circumstances that result in the loss of grandparent visitation, such as divorce, financial issues, or the death of a parent.
Contact An Oklahoma City Family Law Attorney Today
If you are a grandparent seeking visitation, it is likely you will have many questions and queries related to this type of court order.
For the best chance to be awarded visitation rights, an experienced family law attorney is needed to make it evident to the court that your grandchildren will benefit from your continuous grandparental relationship.
Contact our law firm, Cannon & Associates, to ensure your best interests are protected whilst negotiating visitation rights.
Contact 405-591-3935 today to speak to a law firm that prioritizes building a professional attorney-client relationship to support your case, and who has the experience to fight for your rights.
Oklahoma Law And Grandparent Visitation
Oklahoma law recognizes the importance of grandparent visitation in regards their grandchildren.
Within Oklahoma City, OK, family law always comes with children’s best interests at its core. An Oklahoma City court can enforce regular grandparent visitation if it is found to be within the child’s best interests. However, grandparent visitation rights are second to parental rights and cannot conflict with this.
A court can enforce these visitation rights if a grandparent has brought a petition to seek visitation.
Furthermore, the court can find grandparent visitation rights if it is evident the child’s family has been dissolved or disrupted. This must be in accordance with the court finding parental unfitness or that the grandchildren would be at risk of potential harm without the grandparent’s visitation.
Examples Of Disruption To A Nuclear Family
- Divorce, separation, or a marriage annulled.
- The death of a parent that is the child of the grandparent seeking visitation rights.
- The grandparent had previous custody of the child.
- One of the parents is incarcerated for a felony conviction.
- One of the parents has abandoned the other parent whilst the grandparent maintained a strong and continuous relationship.
- The child was removed from the home, and custody rights have been given to a third-party individual.
- When the parental right of one or both parents has been removed, and the grandparent maintained a strong and continuous relationship with the child.
- The parents of the child were never married, and the grandparent maintained a strong and continuous relationship with the child.
However, grandparent visitation rights may not be granted if the child is in an intact nuclear family unit and the parents refuse the granting of visitation rights.
If the ex-spouse of a deceased parent remarries and the child is adopted by the new spouse of the surviving parent, the grandparents could request visitation rights.
The court may not terminate the visitation rights of the grandparent unless it is in the best interests of the child and the grandparent has been given the opportunity to appear in court.
The grandparents of unmarried parents who have their parental rights terminated may be eligible for visitation rights under the right circumstances.
Grandparents Must Petition To The Court
A formal petition must be provided before the family court. This formal petition is a pleading document that is often drawn up by a family law attorney.
The document must outline the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild and explain why extending the visitation rights would be within the child’s best interest.
This formal petition is then filed with the court before a notice of the hearing is served to all interested parties, including the grandchild’s parents.
In some cases, these hearings can be contested, which is why it is imperative to have a skillful family law attorney present to represent the grandparents at the hearing.
An attorney can present the grandparent’s position with evidence whilst being respectful of the parent’s presence and their rights.
What Does ‘In The Best Interest’ Of A Child Mean?
The court determines the best interests of children following these factors. A family law attorney will use these factors to support grandparents in collecting evidence for visitation rights.
- The stability of the child’s home environment and the intact nuclear family they are part of.
- If both parents are deceased, the benefit of maintaining the preexisting relationship between grandchild and grandparent.
- The visitation time requested and if this has an adverse impact on the child’s normal activities.
- The importance of the continuous grandparental relationship and if age appropriate, the child’s preference.
- The grandparent’s eagerness to foster a close relationship between the child and the child’s parents.
- The quality and length of the preexisting relationship of the child and grandparent and their willingness to continue that relationship.
- The emotional ties between the child and parents.
- The reasons for parents denying visitation rights.
- The mental, physical and moral fitness of the following family members – children, parents, and grandparents.
- The behavior of those who live within the home or frequently visit, for example, friends of the parents.
Grandparent visitation cases are always bound by fact, and the smallest fact could provide clear and convincing evidence that leads to granted visitation rights for the grandparent.
Can Grandparents Gain Legal Custody Rights Of Their Grandchild
In accordance with Oklahoma statute, the court’s first concern is ensuring a relationship is continued with the grandchild and grandchild’s parents.
However, there are situations where parental rights are removed, such as a deceased parent or an incarcerated parent. In these situations, it can become complex for the grandparents to maintain a relationship.
If the child would suffer harm or potential harm living in the same household as their parent, then parental rights may be passed to the grandparents.
In addition, if a grandparent previously had custody rights, this could be granted again if parental unfitness is evident.
However, grandparents gaining legal custody of grandchildren is unlikely to happen in the event of an intact nuclear family.
Can A Grandparent Gain Visitation For An Adopted Grandchild?
Parents that adopt a child have no obligation to maintain a relationship or allow contact between the child and any biological relative, including their grandparents.
Some exceptions may exist when biological families and adoptive families enter into their own visitation contracts. In a situation where a contract such as this is present, the terms should be followed by all parties.
If a child has been adopted by a stepparent, a grandparent can seek visitation. If it is proven to be within the child’s best interest, then a court will grant visitation rights.
However, this is only in the case of the grandparent being biologically related to the child’s parent. For example, it may be possible to obtain visitation rights to a child that your child has adopted, but not the child adopted by their spouse.
Trust Our Experienced Family Law Attorneys With Your Case
In cases where grandchildren are suffering, it is natural for a grandparent to want to intervene. If you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights, contact our law firm, Cannon & Associates, today to gain some immediate legal advice and to begin formulating a plan of action.
Contact 405-591-3935 today to begin the process of gaining visitation rights.
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