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Legal Information: Oklahoma

Custody

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Laws current as of December 8, 2023

Who can seek custody?

Most commonly, custody will be given to one parent (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody). However, it is possible for a non-parent to appear before the court to try and prove that both parents are unfit in order for the non-parent to get custody of a child. Grandparents, adult relatives, and any person a child has been living with in a caring and wholesome environment are among the people who can ask that parents be declared unfit so that custody could be granted to the non-parent petitioner. However, this does not mean that a non-parent can get custody just by coming to court and saying, “We can take better care of the child than either parent.” A parent must be declared “unfit.”1

We recommend that you talk to an attorney when you are involved in a divorce or any custody dispute, especially if anyone (a parent or non-parent) is trying to get custody. Go to our Oklahoma Finding a Lawyer page for legal referrals.

Note: In any situation where the court has to decide custody or visitation of a child, the court may decide to appoint an attorney, known as a guardian ad litem, to represent the best interests of the child.2

1 See, for example, Weber v. Linch, 579 P.2d 213 (Okl.App.,1978)
2 43 O.S. § 107.3(A)