In many families, grandparents are very important and special people in children's live. The bond between grandparents and grandchildren can be positive, strong, and invaluable. The existence of such a bond often leads grandparents to question what rights they may have regarding visitation with their grandchildren. The answer to that question depends on which state you reside in.
Oklahoma's grandparent visitation statute, 43 O.S. 109.4, provides guidance for its residents. More specifically, a grandparent may be granted visitation with an unmarried, minor child if (1) it is in the best interest of the child; (2) there is a showing of parental unfitness or there is a showing of clear and convincing evidence that a fit parent is not acting in the child's best interest, and the child will suffer harm or potential harm if grandparent visitation is not granted; and (3) the intact nuclear family has been disrupted.
The statute goes on to state that the intact nuclear family has been disrupted when the following has occurred: (1) divorce, legal separation, or annulment proceedings have been initiated, and the grandparental relationship existed prior to the date of filing; (2) divorce, legal separation, or annulment orders have been entered; (3) the grandchild's parent is deceased, and the grandparental relationship existed prior to death, unless death of the mother was related to birth complications; (4) custody of the grandchild is given to someone other than the grandchild's parent; (5) the grandchild's parent is incarcerated, and the grandparental relationship existed prior to incarceration; (6) the grandparent had custody of the grandchild, and there exists a strong, continuous grandparental relationship; (7) the grandchild's parent has abandoned the other parent for more than one year, and there exists a strong, continuous grandparental relationship; (8) the grandchild's parents have never been married, are not residing in the same household, and there exists a strong, continuous grandparental relationship; and (9) a parent's parental rights have been terminated, and there exists a strong, continuous grandparental relationship.
If you are being prohibited from seeing your grandchildren, and you believe you are entitled to visitation with your grandchildren, contact our office for a consultation and legal representation.