There are times when a grandparent needs to take care of their grandchildren for an extended period of time. Children are often close to their grandchildren. So, when the parents are unable to care for their children, grandparents often step in to fill the void. Hence, grandparent custody in Oklahoma can help keep a steady environment for grandchildren when parents are unable to do so.
When it is needed, Oklahoma law allows a preference for other family members to step in and care for their minor grandchildren when parents are unable to. Also, the law allows grandparents to become legal guardians of their grandchildren. Guardianship is like legal custody, though it may be for a short period of time. It’s also somewhat different from grandparents visitation rights in Oklahoma.
Guardianship law is a special pocket of family law. The law is very technical and if you are a grandparent seeking custody of your grandchildren through guardianship, it is advisable that you speak to an experienced guardianship attorney in Oklahoma as soon as you can.
Understanding Oklahoma Guardianship Or Custody Procedures
Courts have a fair amount of discretion in this area. A court may appoint a legal guardian over a minor’s person or property if it finds that it is convenient or necessary to do so.
Guardianship of a minor’s person is somewhat like having physical custody. It addresses the question of where and with whom the children live.
Guardianship of the property or estate of a minor pertains to managing the child’s money, inheritance, or other property.
Guardianships can last until a child turns 18 or the guardianship is legally ended.
Reasons For Grandparent Custody In Oklahoma
Life can be full of challenges for a parent. Sometimes, those challenges lead a parent to the decision that someone else needs to care for their children for a time.
In other situations, a grandparent may feel their grandchildren need more care than the parents are able to give.
Some of the more common reasons that a grandparent may seek guardianship or custody revolve around the parents’:
- mental illness;
- substance abuse;
- documented neglect or abuse;
- unfitness; or
There are times when a grandchild may be in foster care for other reasons. This is a time when grandparents may want to take steps to obtain custody of their grandchildren. This gives the grandparents the ability to make legal decisions for their grandchildren. In addition, guardians are entitled to child support, as are custodial parents who have physical custody of their children.
While taking steps to become guardians, grandparents may want to consider applying to become the children’s foster caregivers. This keeps the care of the children within the extended family unit and provides a seamless transition for the children.
The Process Of Becoming A Guardian
This is a state court process. It begins with a petition before a state court. That petition should provide the judge with information about the child, where and with whom the child has been living, the reason you are asking for guardianship, the circumstances of the parents, and whether the children have parents in the military or Native American ancestry.
For Native American families, the grandparents may want to take the matter to their tribal court. Tribal courts may choose to hear the custody matter or transfer the matter to state court. Our offices are fully able to represent clients before their tribal court.
Most petitions for guardianship require an investigation into the lives and home of the grandparents. A social worker usually conducts the investigation, called a home study. A judge may waive the home study in cases in which families are involved. Nonetheless, background checks are usually required.
A guardianship requires a hearing. The grandparents present evidence showing that guardianship is necessary for the child’s wellbeing. Any opposing party, including the parents, may present their evidence as well. Once a guardianship is approved, often courts will require periodic check-ins to ensure everything is going well.
Getting Help With A Custody Matter
These are often contested hearings. Even when parents are having a difficult time themselves, it is instinctive to hang on to their children. Even when the matter is not contested, this area of the law is complex. The best way to secure your grandchildren’s future is to get the help you need to secure guardianship.
An experienced Muskogee attorney will help you understand whether guardianship is right for you and your family. An attorney can also help negotiate the situation with the parents. This can be the most draining and difficult part of the proceeding.
Finally, an experienced attorney can help the court understand why this guardianship is best for everyone involved.
Free Consultation: Muskogee Child Custody Attorney
When you decide to get a divorce and have children, you may feel nervous about your child custody options. However, an experienced Muskogee child custody attorney can help bring relief.
A no-cost initial consultation can help you decide whether Wirth Law Office – Muskogee can provide the best Muskogee child custody attorney for your family law matter. Call us today at 918-884-7774.