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

Fortunately, Georgia, like many other states, allows grandparents to seek visitation rights. If you are wondering what rights grandparents have to visitation, an Alpharetta lawyer may be able to help.

How can Grandparents Get Visitation?

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. Second, a grandparent can intervene or join an existing legal action.

In the first scenario, grandparents 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.

Grandparents also have the option to intervene in an existing court action such as a divorce or child custody action between the parents of the child or 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

The state law in Georgia 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. It also specifies four situations it will consider in determining whether the child would be harmed without the visitation::

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

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

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.

Recent Blog Posts
Atlanta Divorce Group Earns Distinction As A Law Firm 500 Honoree for 2020
On Saturday, December 5, 2020, the Law Firm 500 Award committee announced the list of 2020 Honorees, ranking Atlanta...
What Will You Carry into 2021? What Will You Leave Behind?
2020 Challenged All My Assumptions We did it — we made it to the last month of 2020! What...
How to Overcome Abuse to Divorce a Narcissist
Initiating a divorce can be difficult. Divorcing an abusive narcissist can feel impossible. Fortunately, there are healthy ways to...
View All Posts