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Oklahoma’s Grandparent Visitation Law

Title 10. Children, Chapter 1. General Pro- visions 10 Okl. St. § 5 (2007)

When Do Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

Independent of the rights of the parents, grand- parents may seek “reasonable visitation” with their grandchildren. Grandparent visitsmust serve the best interests of the child. See the summary on the best interests of the child.

Grandparents may seek visitation with their grandchild when:

  • The parents are unfit.

  • The child would “suffer harm or potential harm” without visits from the grandparent(s). Grandparents may seek visitation with their

grandchild when:

  • A married couple has filed for a divorce or sepa- ration.

  • A married couple has filed a motion to annul the marriage.

  • The grandchild’s parent, the child of the grand- parent, has died. In this case, the grandparent must have had a relationship with the child be- fore the parent died. Exceptions – Grandparents may not seek visita-

tion with their grandchild when:

  • Another person has legal custody of the grand- child.

  • The grandchild does not live in the home of a parent of the child. Grandparents also may seek visitation with their

grandchild when a parent has had a felony convic- tion and the parent is in jail. The grandparents had a relationship with the grandchild before the parent went to jail.

If the grandparent had custody of the grandchild, he or she may seek visitation with their grandchild. (See Section 21.3 of this law.) The judge must de- termine whether the grandparent had a court order

for custody. Judges must determine if the grandpar- ent had a strong, continuous relationship with their grandchild.

Grandparents also may ask for visitation with their grandchild when the grandchild’s parent has abandoned the other parent for more than one year. The grandparents must have had an ongoing rela- tionship with their grandchild.

Exceptions – Grandparents may not seek visita- tion when:

  • The child’s parents never married. They may not obtain visitation if the parents do not live in the same household. Grandparents who have not had a “strong, continuous” grandparent-grand- child relationship may not seek visitation rights. See subsection D of the law.

  • One or both parents have lost their parental rights. The district court must determine if there was a “strong, continuous” relationship between grandparent and grandchild. The judge may do so if the parent has lost his or her parental rights. Additionally, grandparents may get visitation

rights if their child is unmarried and a minor. The district court must grant the visitation orders.

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