The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is very special. It can be heartbreaking for a grandparent if the parent of their grandchild is not allowing them to have a meaningful relationship.

Fortunately, Georgia, like many other states, allows grandparents to seek visitation time with their grandchildren. If you are wondering what rights grandparents have to visitation, ask an attorney at our firm.

How Can Grandparents Get Visitation Time with their Grandkids?

There are two primary ways a grandparent can ask a court for visitation. First, a grandparent may file their own court action seeking visitation with the grandchild. However, they are limited to filing an action for grandchild visitation once every two years. Grandparents generally cannot seek visitation with a grandchild who currently lives with both parents who are still together and object to the grandparents’ visitation. In these cases, the courts usually leave the decision to allow grandparent visitation to the child’s parents.

Second, a grandparent can intervene in or join an existing legal action. Specifically, they may intervene in a divorce or child custody action between the parents of their grandchild or join an open action for the termination of parental rights. Additionally, in an open action for the adoption of the child by a step-parent or another relative, grandparents may also intervene.

How Courts Decide whether to Grant Visitation to Grandparents

State law regarding grandparent visitation has no presumption in favor of granting visitation. The state statute specifies that the court must consider whether the child will be harmed without visitation. The following factors help the court determine whether the child would be harmed without grandparent visitation:

  • Whether the minor child resided with the grandparent for six months or more
  • Whether the grandparent provided for the financial support of the child’s basic needs for at least one year
  • Whether there is an established pattern of consistent visitation between the grandparent and child
  • Any other circumstance which indicates that emotional or physical harm would befall the child if grandparent visitation is not granted

In addition, courts will consider the best interests of the child when determining whether to grant grandparent visitation. For more information about grandparent visitation in Alpharetta, speak with a knowledgeable attorney on our team.

The Best Interests of the Child

A grandparent may feel that it is in their grandchild’s best interest to have visitation, but the courts have set out common factors to consider when determining the child’s best interest. Some of these factors include:

  • The physical and emotional health, safety, and welfare of the child
  • The wishes of the parents and the grandparents
  • The wishes of the child if they are old enough
  • The strength of the relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • The length of the relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • The distance between the child and grandparent

How an Alpharetta Grandparents Visitation Attorney Can Help

The grandparent-grandchild relationship is a precious one. That makes it an important relationship to protect and preserve. If possible, grandparents may want to consider mediation when seeking visitation rights.

It is usually in the child’s best interest for parents and grandparents to resolve issues amicably. However, in some cases, litigation is necessary. Regardless of the situation, an attorney can help advocate for grandparent visitation in Alpharetta, so call today.

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