If one parent is scheduled to have custody but has put the kids in the care of a third party for an extended period of time, what would happen? My name is Brian L. Jackson, and I’m a Tulsa father’s rights attorney here with Dads.law where fathers are not disposable. Today we’re going to talk about interpreting that decree. In this article, we want to discuss a scenario that comes up sometimes where one parent has left their custodial period, but they left the children with a third party for an extended period.
Parental Rights in Oklahoma
So how well should they be allowed to do that, and how would a court handle that situation? The short answer is that if you don’t have a specific term in your decree or joint custody order that says there’s a right of first refusal, then it would fall back on statutory law under Title 43. The answer is that a parent has the right to delegate custody and care of that child to another responsible adult, any responsible adult.
For example, if she’s going out for date night and wants to leave the kids with her maternal grandmother instead of giving them to you if your court order doesn’t have a right of first refusal clause, she can do that. You can’t just show up at grandma’s house and say, Give me the kids because grandma would be standing in mom’s shoes as far as her right to the kids. The same is true of you.
Exceptions to the Rule
There are some exceptions to that. If, for example, you or she leaves the children with somebody who’s objectively unsuitable for one reason or another, particularly if there’s someone who would be otherwise objectively unfit, then as the other parent, you would have the right to step in and take the kids. Although it would be advisable in such a scenario to avail yourself of the court and don’t attempt to resort to self-help.
In other words, you file an emergency, get emergency custody, and then go get the kids. Don’t just show up and get the kids unless it’s a really dire emergency because one thing I can tell you is courts don’t like self-help so don’t do that if you can avoid it.
Free Consultation with Dads.law
If you have any questions about that, you should go to dads.law where fathers are not disposable, and we’ll help you out. Call us today for a free consultation with an Oklahoma child custody lawyer at (918) 962-0900.