Many people look forward to being grandparents and relish the opportunity. Grandparents can play a special part as adult role models for their grandchildren, free of some of the pressure being a parent involves.
It can be devastating when someone or something interferes with the bond between grandparents and grandchildren. If you are a grandparent concerned about maintaining your relationships with your grandchildren, you may have legal options. The possibilities depend on your specific circumstances, but an experienced family attorney can review your situation and discuss your alternatives.
A Marietta grandparents’ rights lawyer is dedicated to helping you maintain your connection with your grandchildren and will investigate every option to help you. Speak to a qualified member of our team today to learn more.
When the judge considers the issue of a child’s custody, the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 19-7-3 gives grandparents the right to intervene. The judge considers custody issues in one of the following situations:
In these situations, a Marietta attorney can petition the court to allow the grandparents visitation rights with the children.
Grandparents could also file a petition seeking visitation when none of the above situations apply when the children’s parents are not living together. For example, if one parent dies, abandons the children, or the parents separate but have not begun divorce proceedings, the grandparent could ask the family court to order visitation.
When the grandchildren live with both parents, the grandparents have no recourse to seek visitation. When a rift between one or both parents prevents the grandparents from seeing the grandchildren, family counseling or mediation could be helpful.
Judges must consider the best interests of the children in every decision they make that directly impacts the children’s lives. Grandparents seeking visitation must show that contact with their grandchildren supports this.
Family law also requires grandparents to meet another burden when they seek a court order for visitation. The grandparents must prove that the absence of contact harms the children. However, family law says that the mere lack of a relationship with a grandparent is not enough to prove harm. Instead, the grandparent must demonstrate a pre-existing attachment by showing that they:
If the grandparent cannot establish one of these facts, they must present other proof that they had a significant connection with the child before the relationship was severed. A Marietta attorney can help a grandparent compile evidence showing their close relationship with their grandchildren.
Sometimes a parent cannot care for a child properly, and a grandparent might wish to step in and take over parenting duties. These can be legally complicated proceedings and emotionally devastating for everyone involved.
Parents sometimes willingly surrender custody of their children to a grandparent. In other cases, the grandparents must prove the parent is unfit due to criminal activity, unresolved mental health issues, substance abuse, domestic violence, or neglect.
Courts favor placing children with relatives whenever possible, but the legal process is arduous. Grandparents considering this step should discuss the legal, financial, and emotional implications with an experienced Marietta attorney.
When you fear losing contact with your grandchildren due to disruption in the family or a dispute with their parents, speak with a Marietta grandparents’ rights lawyer. Depending on the circumstances, you could have legal options to secure the right to visit with your grandchildren.