Custody of Abandoned Minors to Qualified Relative
Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.
NEW STATUTE 2020 Grant of Custody of Abandoned Minors to Qualified Relative
A new Oklahoma statute allows for a qualified relative to gain custody by abandonment of a minor or minors.
Read the statute, which includes court forms, here:
The Oklahoma Bar Association has developed some forms to download and print:
Oklahoma Statutes Citationized: 30 O.S. § 2-117 (OSCN 2020) Grant of Custody of Abandoned Minors to Qualified Relative
- Reports and Investigations
- Filing Fees
- Letters of Custody by Abandonment
- Recovery to Parents
- Cessation of Custody
- Report to DHS
A. The court of each county, when it appears necessary or convenient, may grant a qualified relative custody by abandonment of a minor or minors who have been abandoned, as defined by Section 1-1-105 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes, in the care of the qualified relative if:
1. The minor is residing full-time with the qualified relative and the qualified relative contributes the major degree of support for the minor; and
2. The qualified relative is unable to contact the parent or parents or person or persons having legal custody of the minor, or the parent or parents or other person or persons having legal custody of the minor fail to or refuse to regain physical custody of the minor after a written request to do so by the qualified relative.
B. For purposes of this section, a "qualified relative" means an adult grandparent, great-grandparent, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, uncle, aunt, niece or nephew or a spouse of a qualified relative.
C. A qualified relative who is granted custody by abandonment shall have the same rights to arrange for, authorize, and consent to day care services, medical, psychological, dental, and educational assessment and services, and any other services that may be necessary to provide for the care, treatment, education, and welfare of the minor or minors that are given to legal guardians by the Oklahoma Guardianship and Conservatorship Act except that such relative may not consent to an adoption of the minor or minors.
D. Custody by abandonment shall be made on the verified petition of a qualified relative and shall be substantially in the following form (attached Petition for Custody by Abandonment)
E. Affidavits attesting to the compliance of the guardian with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act and the Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act shall be attached to the petition and shall be substantially in the following forms (attached Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction And Enforcement Act Affidavit and attached Oklahoma Sex Offenders Registration Act Affidavit)
F. The provisions for satisfying notice requirements and receiving reports and investigations shall be identical to those provided for under subsection C of Section 2-101 of Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
G. The annual accounting requirements for custody by abandonment shall be identical to the accounting requirements provided in Section 4-303 of Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
H. The filing fees in matters pertaining to custody by abandonment shall not exceed the fees for matters pertaining to relative guardianship under Section 4-404 of Title 30 of the Oklahoma Statutes.
I. If after consideration, the court finds that granting custody by abandonment to a qualified relative is in the best interest of the child, the court shall issue an order granting said relative custody by abandonment. A qualified relative who is granted custody by abandonment shall be issued Letters of Custody by Abandonment. Letters of Custody by Abandonment shall specify that the guardian shall have the authority to consent to medical services and shall be indemnified from personal liability for medical services provided to the child or children. Custody by abandonment shall take effect upon taking of an oath by the qualified relative.
J. 1. A minor who is in the permanent care of the qualified relative granted care and custody by abandonment and who is either:
a. twenty-four (24) months of age or less and who has been abandoned for at least six (6) months in the physical care of the qualified relative, or
b. over twenty-four (24) months of age and who has been abandoned for a period of twelve (12) months out of the last fourteen (14) months in the physical care of the qualified relative,
may not be reclaimed or recovered to the parent or parents or other person or persons having legal custody of the minor who abandoned the minor except through order of a court of competent jurisdiction or by voluntary release of the minor by the qualified relative.
2. Upon any action to determine the custody of the minor pursuant to the provisions of this subsection, the court shall base its findings and determination of custody on the best interests of the minor and:
a. the duration of the abandonment and integration of the minor into the home of the relative,
b. the preference of the minor if the minor is determined to be of sufficient maturity to express a preference,
c. the mental and physical health of the minor, and
d. such other factors as are deemed necessary in the particular circumstances.
3. During the pendency of any action to determine the custody of a minor pursuant to this subsection, unless it is determined not to be in the best interests of the minor, the minor shall remain in the custody of the qualified relative who has accepted custody by abandonment.
4. If the court orders the minor be returned to the minor’s parent or parents or other legal guardian, the court may provide for a transitional period for the return in the best interest of the minor.
K. The provisions of this section shall not apply to the acceptance of care and custody by one parent of the minor from the other parent of the minor.
L. 1. Custody by abandonment for a minor ceases upon:
a. the minor attaining majority, or attaining the age of nineteen (19) years if the minor is a full-time student in high school,
b. the solemnized marriage of the minor,
c. the voluntary relinquishment by the qualified relative granted custody by abandonment, or
d. by order of the court.
2. If the minor stops residing with the relative, or if custody by abandonment has been terminated for any reason, the relative shall notify the court issuing the Letters of Custody by Abandonment and any school, health care provider, health care service plan, or other provider that has been given a copy of the Letters of Custody by Abandonment.
M. Actions establishing abandonment pursuant to this section shall not be required to be reported to the Department of Human Services under subsection B of Section 1-2-101 of Title 10A of the Oklahoma Statutes.