Protecting Your Rights As a Grandparent in Custody Matters

Protecting Your Rights As a Grandparent in Custody Matters

Grandparents can petition to gain visitation rights or even custody in certain circumstances. This can be a difficult task to accomplish, however. Courts prioritize parental rights above all else. To win custody, grandparents must present clear and convincing evidence that the parents are unfit. They must also demonstrate that the preexisting bond with their grandchildren is significant and viable.


Know Your Rights

Grandparents play an essential role in their grandchildren’s lives, often providing them with emotional support and childcare. This is why it’s so devastating when their relationship is threatened by divorce or other family law issues. To obtain visitation rights, you must demonstrate that you have had a substantial and ongoing personal relationship with your grandchild. You must show that a parent or legal guardian has acted unreasonably in interfering with your establishing or maintaining a close relationship in custody matters. These cases are complicated, and custody decisions are always based on the child’s best interests. Generally, only in extreme circumstances do judges award custody to grandparents over parents.

Be Prepared

If you are considering filing for visitation rights or custody of your grandchild, you must be prepared for what lies ahead. It is vital to keep documents and evidence that support your position, including letters, pictures, and videos. Also, it would be best if you were prepared to present your case at a hearing. It isn’t straightforward to gain custody of a grandchild, but it can happen. You must demonstrate that the children are in danger with their parents and that you would be a better choice for them. This is a severe and complicated process that requires the help of a family attorney. It is crucial to remain calm and composed in court, as making a scene can make things more difficult. Coming to the courthouse early to park and get through security before your hearing starts is also helpful.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

A legal name change can be requested as a stand-alone case or within a divorce or custody proceeding. If both parents agree to the name change, it is easy and usually costs nothing. If one parent does not consent, the matter may require a hearing before a judge and will likely be more contested. It is essential to have an attorney working with a process server to serve the non-consenting parent. Sometimes it’s necessary to ask questions about name changes that feel sensitive and personal. Those questions are often crucial in helping us find the right path forward.

In some cases, grandparents can petition the courts to become legal guardians of their grandchildren to help with parenting responsibilities. This arrangement is known as kinship care. Generally speaking, obtaining custody from parents is difficult. Unless extraordinary circumstances are present (such as child abuse), the court will only award grandparent custody in rare instances and if it is deemed in the children’s best interests. A family law attorney can provide advice on how to proceed with this type of situation. In addition to custody, a lawyer can also assist with visitation rights.

Be Supportive

In some states, grandparents may petition the court for custody of their grandchildren. However, this is a grave matter that needs to be handled carefully. Parents are the ones who have the final say in raising their children, and unless there is an obvious safety issue, it’s usually best to let them do that. It’s also essential to avoid gossiping or commiserating with one parent over the other. Trying to gain custody of a child can be an extremely emotional experience for all involved. Working with an experienced family law group attorney can help to ease the process. Agree informally with your adult child and their partner before taking legal action. This can help keep everyone’s relationships healthy and positive.

Find Help

In many situations, grandparents can gain visitation rights or guardianship for their grandchildren. However, custody is complicated to obtain. In general, courts will only award custody to grandparents when the parents have become unfit due to drug or alcohol addiction, incarceration, mental illness, or physical abuse of the child or children. Grandparents often form a special bond with their grandchildren and play an essential role in their development and well-being. In the ideal world, children would live with their parents in a safe and stable environment. Unfortunately, divorces, strained relationships between adult siblings, and several other circumstances may lead some grandparents to seek custody of their grandchildren. Working with a lawyer can help you navigate the process and protect your rights.