Legal Information: Oklahoma


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November 18, 2022

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 agreement of the parents and they give up (relinquish) custody to you in writing; and then a judge must approve it 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 Oklahoma Finding a Lawyer page.

If the parents won’t allow you (the grandparent) to visit and you file for visitation in court, you can only get visitation against the wishes of the parents if:

  1. It is in the child’s best interests to have visitation with you; and
  2. Either of the following are true:
    • The parents are proven to be unfit; or
    • You 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 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 Selected Oklahoma 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 Selected Oklahoma Statutes page, and read section E.1 of section 109.4.

1 43 O.S. § 109.4

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