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Jurisdiction

After filing a petition, district courts have jurisdic- tion over cases about grandparent visitation rights. District courts may enforce grandparent visitation rights. The district court shall notify the person or parent who has custody of the child.

The location or venue of grandparent visitation cases must be where there are ongoing court actions involving the child. If there is no ongoing court ac- tion, the case should be heard in the county where the child or parent lives.

What Do Grandparents Do if the Parent Does Not Follow the Court’s Order?

When a grandparent has court-ordered visita- tion rights and a parent denies or gets in the way of these visits, then the grandparent may file a motion to enforce their rights. Once a motion is filed, the district court will schedule a hearing. At the initial hearing, the judge may order “direct mediation” or and “set a hearing on the merits of the motion” (10 Okl. St. § 5, 2007, p. 4).

After completion of any mediation, the media- tor is required to submit a summary of the parties’ agreement to the court. The summary is called a re- cord of mediation termination. Once the judge re- ceives the summary, he or she will give an order that follows the mediation agreement. This occurs only if the parties reach an agreement.

All parties will receive notice of a hearing. The court will send notices to the last-known address or an address ordered by the court. So it is important to give judges, attorneys, and mediators the correct information.

Notice is to be given at least ten (10) days before the court date. The judge sets the date of the hear- ing. The court, however, may provide shorter notice

if it is appropriate under the circumstances.

Appearance at any court hearing signifies a “waiver of the notice requirements” before the ac- tual hearing.

Interference with Court-ordered Visitation

If parents deny grandparents court-ordered vis- its or if parents interfere with these visits, then the court may:

  • Set a specific visitation schedule.

  • Make up the lost visitation time. The compen- sated visit may include but is not limited to holi- days, weekdays, weekends, and summer visits may be at the convenience of the grandparent.

  • Post bond for parents who fail to follow the court-order visitation. Bond may be a cash pay- ment or another secured means.

  • Require payment of attorney fees, mediation costs, and court costs needed to enforce the court-ordered visit. These fees are to be reason- able. The parent who interferes or denies the court-ordered visits pays these fees.

If a grandparent sought or filed a motion for the court to enforce their visitation rights, then the grandparent may be liable for attorney fees, media-

tion costs, and court costs.

If

parents

or

grandparents

violate

court-ordered visitation, then that person may be found in contempt of court.

Grandparents seeking visitation with their grandchild are responsible for any transportation costs. They also are responsible for other costs re- lated to the visit.

The court may award attorney fees and costs. Judges decide what is fair to charge.

The term grandparents also includes great- grandparents.

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