I am the child's grandparent. Can I get custody or visitation?
A non-parent, such as a grandparent, can only try to get custody of the child by showing that the parents are unfit. This is a hard thing to do. Another way to get custody is if you have the permission (agreement) of the parents. The parents must relinquish (give up) custody in writing and a judge must award custody to you. You may also be able to get custody if the parents abandon the child. It is highly recommended that you get an attorney to help you out with these types of custody cases. You may be able to find legal help on our OK Finding a Lawyer page.
If the parents won’t allow you to visit and you file for visitation in court, you can only get visitation of the child against the wishes of the parents if:
- It is in the child’s best interests to have visitation with you; and
- The parents are proven to be unfit; or
- You (the grandparent) have proven that a fit parent is not acting in the best interest of the child by denying you visits by showing that:
- the child will/can be harmed by the denial of contact with you; and
- the child’s family unit has been disrupted (affected) by something like divorce, death of a parent or the child being deserted, etc.1
Note: There are specific scenarios that your situation would have to fall under to apply for grandparent visitation even if you believe you meet the factors above. To read the specific circumstances you would have to meet, go to our OK Statutes page, and read paragraph A.1 of section 109.4. To read the factors the judge will consider when deciding if it is in the child’s best interest (mentioned in #1, above), go to our OK Statutes page, and read section E.1 of section 109.4.
1 43 O.S. §109.4