“This bill is about holding custodial parents more responsible for honoring visitation schedules. Unfortunately, the visitation rights of law-abiding noncustodial parents are continually trampled because they simply can’t afford the court costs of taking the custodial parent to court after every visitation violation,” said Sharp, R-Shawnee.

A grandmother wrote us her story on our Facebook page. She had started a funding campaign for her son so that he could hire an attorney to fight for his parenting time. She asked us to post her son’s story. While we were conversing with her to confirm and validate the story and the need, we discovered that her son is a resident in Oklahoma. We thought we had read that Oklahoma had passed a bill that made it easier on parents to enforce their parenting time. And sure enough, we found it and sent it over to the grandmother and are posting the information here for you too.

Back to the story, the son is a minor and the mother of the child is a minor. They had their child when they were 14 or 15 years old. Nonetheless they face the same challenges that any parents who break up face after bearing a child together. The mother has a new boyfriend now and has been creating drama and difficulty on the father when he picks up their child. She finally crossed the line and withheld the child from the father completely on father’s day!

The father and the grandmother were unaware that enforcing parenting time in Oklahoma had gotten easier. The father’s last experience in the court in June 2014 was ex parte communication between the attorney and judge and a reprimand of the father with a go-free card to the mother, while the father was threatened with the mother’s attorney’s fees.

They were unaware that earlier in that month, June 4, 2014, the Oklahoma State Senate on behalf of Senator Ron Sharp had released a press release that Oklahoma legislators passed a noncustodial parent’s visitation rights bill enforcing parenting time. This father and grandmother had no idea that this bill would go into effect November of that same year! The judge apparently had not received that memo either or perhaps simply did not care.

Here is what the bill says a parent can do in Oklahoma now if the other parent is denying their parenting time:

“This bill keeps noncustodial parents from having to go through the hassle and expense of getting a lawyer when the custody schedule isn’t upheld by the custodial parent. They can simply fill out a form at the courthouse detailing the visitation schedule violations and the courts will reevaluate the visitation schedule and punish the violator if needs be.”

“The bill allows the noncustodial parent to directly file a claim to the District Court, similar to completing a small claims form. The court will then decide whether or not an attorney is necessary to restore the visitation rights. The bill provides a template of the form that noncustodial parents can use.”

If your order was written before this bill was enacted consider asking your court to amend your order to add the wording into it to ensure that you receive the benefit of this new law in Oklahoma.

If you live in another state and want to pass laws to enforce parenting time you might consider using this bill as an example. Oklahoma received a lot of support from the D.A.’s and other legislators and attorneys because they felt that it wasn’t fair that child support would get enforced but visitation. They also felt it was unfair that parents who needed their parenting time enforced many times couldn’t afford to enforce it. This bill is supposed to resolve all of that. We will update this story to let you all know if this father receives the results this bill intends.