The results are clear. Both grandparents and their grandchildren benefit from close and regular contact. Grandparents tend to live longer, happier lives into their later years. Grandchildren with close ties to their grandparents grow up happier and more resilient than their peers without those ties. Grandparents often fill their later years fostering those ties. Yet, if there is a problem in the nuclear family, grandparents may discover they have almost no rights to a continued relationship with their grandchildren. This is often when a Cherokee County grandparents rights attorney steps in.
Changes In The Nuclear Family Can Disrupt The Relationship
It is both surprising and disheartening for a grandparent to learn they have next to no legal rights regarding their grandchildren. Changes in the nuclear family can include: divorce, separation, adoption, the incapacity of a parent due to illness, or even the incarceration of a parent. These changes are often unexpected and can wreak havoc in the grandparent’s relationship with their grandchildren. In these situations, a grandparent may realize they have no legal rights of visitation.
How To Get Grandparents Rights To Visitation
It is important for grandparents understand that they have to actively seek help from Oklahoma courts to obtain visitation rights if they are prohibited from seeing their grandchildren. For this, you will need the help of an experienced Cherokee County grandparents rights attorney. Your Tahlequah attorney can help advise you and help you prepare a petition requesting visitation rights or custody. Oklahoma law leaves it up to a court to determine whether grandparents visitation or custody is in a child’s best interests.
What a grandparent will seek depends on the circumstances of their case. A grandparent’s petition is usually the result of a disruption in the grandchild’s nuclear family. For a court to grant the grandparent’s petition, it must be in the child’s best interests to extend the rights being sought.
In addition, it is important to know that in Oklahoma, a grandparent’s rights are secondary to the rights of the parents. Thus, those rights must not conflict. If they do, in most cases, the court will not extend visitation rights to the grandparents.
Most of the time, the rights sought are to continue visitation. Sometimes, the grandparents seek custody. The parameters of the court’s inquiry in both of these cases may be different in some respects, but both are grounded in whether it is in the child’s best interests.
What A Court May Weigh In Making Its Decision
In making its decision, the court will look at a number of factors. The court looks at the child’s life at home; the relationship between the child and the grandparent; the preferences of the child (if the child is old enough to render a mature opinion); the grandparent’s willingness and desire to take on a deeper relationship; why the parents are denying visitation; the moral fitness of the parties involved and its effect on the child; and the benefits of extending the rights to the child.
Grandparents must have a beneficial and ongoing relationship with their grandchild. A judge will weigh that heavily in their decision. Thus, even small efforts to maintain contact such as telephone calls, notes, and outings can weigh in a grandparent’s favor.
A Cherokee County grandparents rights attorney can counsel you on how to best document your role in your grandchild’s life and provide legal representation when you need to show a court how you care for your grandchild.
Free Consultation: Cherokee County Grandparents Rights Attorney
For a free consultation with a Tahlequah attorney, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll free at 1-888-447-7262.
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