The options grandparents have regarding child custody depend on the specific circumstances of their situation, but there are options where grandparents can intervene and ask the court to grant them custody. Grandparents can file their own custody petition in Superior Court, but there is a rebuttal presumption that the parents should have custody.
Grandparents can also file a dependency case in juvenile court if the situation in the parent’s home rises to the level of abuse or neglect or if the child’s health and welfare are at risk. They can also file for guardianship through probate court, which typically involves parents who are willing to agree to grant the grandparents with guardianship of the child. To learn more about grandparents’ rights to custody in Gwinnett County, contact a seasoned child custody attorney today.
All custody and visitation orders, except for a final adoption decree, can be modified under Official Code of Georgia Annotated §15-11-26. Some orders are temporary and have expiration dates, so something else would need to be filed lest custody will revert back to the parents.
Unless it is a custody order that has an expiration date where it automatically dissolves, and the rights go back to the parents, then the parent or legal guardian is going to have to file with the court asking that the custody order be modified.
A grandparent can file for visitation of a grandchild no more than once every two years, and they cannot file during any year in which another custody action has been filed. In other words, if there is some other court case pending that has to do with custody of the child such as a divorce, they cannot file in that same year.
Once visitation rights have been granted, a parent can petition the court for revocation of a grandparent’s visitation rights once every two years. If there is any change in circumstance since the last custody order, a grandparent can file as often as circumstances warrant it.
If a grandparent is intervening in an existing case for visitation rights, they will go through whichever court is already processing that case, which could be either juvenile court or Superior Court. If they are filing an original action asking for visitation, they will do so in Superior Court. There are many custody options available to grandparents, and they should talk with an attorney to decide which is best in their situation. For example, they could file for temporary consent guardianship through probate court if the parents will consent to it and it is not intended to last forever.
If there are issues of abuse and neglect, it might be best to file what is called a dependency action in juvenile court. If they file an original custody action, they will file that in Superior Court. There are many factors to consider, especially between filing in juvenile court versus Superior Court, and they need to be discussed with an experienced Gwinnett County lawyer. It depends on specific facts of the case as well as the goals of the grandparents, which is why they should speak with an attorney to decide the best route to take and what their rights to custody are in Gwinnett.
An accomplished lawyer who is knowledgeable about grandparents’ rights to custody in Gwinnett County will be familiar with the types of evidence that matters to the court. An attorney can also fight for your rights and explain your legal options when it comes to child custody and visitation. Call today and set up a consultation with our team of legal professionals.