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When are Grandparents Denied Visitation Rights?

Grandparents will not receive visitation rights when a child’s parents are in an “intact nuclear family” and the parents oppose grandparental visitation.

If a biological parent dies, the surviving parent remarries, and the stepparent adopts the child, then any preexisting court-ordered visitation between the grandparent and grandchild remains. The court in charge of the adoption case may end or terminate grandparent visitation rights. Ending the grandpar- ents’ visits with their grandchild must serve the best interests of the child.

If a child is born to unwed parents and the father loses his parental rights, then his parent may not be able to request visitation rights unless:

  • Paternity has been legally established or veri- fied.

  • The court decides that a grandparent-grandchild relationship previously existed. If a child is born to unwed parents and the moth-

er loses her parental rights, then her parents shall not have a right to visit the child unless the court determines that a grandparent-grandchild relation- ship previously existed.

Exceptions - The district court shall not give a

grandparent visitation rights if their child, the par- ent of the grandchild, is unmarried and a minor unless:

  • The adoption is finalized. Adoption proceed- ings will not end any prior court-order visitation rights unless the district court ends the court-or- der visits. Judges must give grandparents an op- portunity to be heard before a court. The district court must determine that termination of grand- parent visitation rights serves the best interests of the child.

  • The child had been placed for adoption before he or she made 6 months of age.

The Best Interests of the Child

Judges must consider these factors when decid- ing the best interests of the child:

  • The needs of the child.

  • The importance of continuing the grandparent- grandchild relationship for the child’s sake.

  • The age and reasonable preference of the child according to Section 113 of Title 43 of the Okla- homa Statutes.

  • The willingness of the grandparent(s) to encour- age a close parent-child relationship.

  • The “length, quality and intimacy” of the preex- isting grandparent-grandchild relationship

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