Grandparents’ Rights Are Lesser Than Parents’ Rights
Video Transcribed: My name is Jason Lile, and I am a Dads Rights lawyer in Tulsa. I wanted to talk a little bit at this point about grandparents’ rights to visitation. I get asked this question often by a parent who says, “I’d like my parents to have visitation rights in the context of my case.” Or grandparents calling us up and asking if they have visitation rights. The first thing to understand is that they have rights but are not equal to their parents. They’re not the same.
A parent has a right to custody, excuse me, and visitation of their child by the constitution, the Oklahoma constitution, and subsequently the US constitution both contain a constitutional right to raise your own children. Grandparent rights are different. There is a statute in Oklahoma that provides for them under certain circumstances, but they’re not co-equal with parents’ rights.
What are those circumstances? If you want visitation rights to your grandchildren or your parents to have visitation rights, there are a couple of ways to go about it. One way is to bootstrap it into an existing paternity case. But the problem with that is that’s an equitable request, meaning you think it’s fair to do this. It’s not a very strong request.
A better way to do that is to bring from the grandparents an entirely different motion standing on its own. The criteria are pretty specific. The criteria would be something along the lines of, number one, that the parent is unfit or that the parent is fit, but it would be harmful to the child to disrupt the grandparents’ existing visitation. There has to be an existing relationship there already.
The second criterion is that it’s in the best interest of this child. That one’s probably the easiest. If you have a positive relationship with the child and the child’s old enough to say they want to continue visitation, you can get that done. The third one is just that the nuclear family’s been disrupted. Obviously, if paternity or divorce is going on, that’s the case.
Now that second, the first one I said, it’s actually the second prong that a parent is unfit, or it would be detrimental to the child not to is a very thorough analysis under the law.
There are 10 different factors that the court would use to identify that. You need an experienced attorney to go through that with you and ensure you have the proof you need to establish grandparental visitation rights.
If you have any questions about grandparental visitation rights, it’s a complex subject. So if you have any questions about this or ever need a Child Custody Attorney for Fathers in Oklahoma or a Child Support Lawyer For Men in Tulsa, please contact dads.law.