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When Do Grandparents Have A Right To Seek Custody Or Visitation?

On behalf of Tasha K. Schaffner of Schaffner Family on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.

There are times when a court may consider a grandparent’s role critical to the well-being of a child and grant visitation to the grandparents. When parents are unfit or absent, a grandparent may be able to seek custody of the grandchild. Grandparent rights are a complex issue, and you may find it beneficial to seek guidance regarding the legal options that may be available to you.

What is in the best interests of the child?

The goal of any custody or visitation agreement is the protection of the best interests of the child. In matters involving complex issues such as disputed custody or grandparent visitation rights, the court will carefully weigh all factors and attempt to come to a final decision that allows for stability and prosperity for the child.

If you believe that it would be in the best interests of your grandchild for you to have regular visitation or even custody rights, you have a difficult path ahead, especially if the biological parents are not in agreement with you. The court will consider the following when considering your case:

  • Does the child have at least one active, present and supporting biological parent?
  • What is best for the child and for his or her continued welfare?
  • What are the wishes of the child?
  • Do you have the physical ability to care for a child?
  • Is there evidence that one or both biological parents have a substance abuse problem?
  • Will the child have to move to a new school or community?

These are examples of the questions the court could ask and attempt to have answered as they pursue a final order that works best for the children.

Where do you begin?

As a grandparent, you may have grounds to seek a legal remedy to your concerns regarding your access to your grandchildren. When dealing with complex custody issues, it could be best to first seek a complete evaluation of your case in order to know how to proceed. Your relationship with your grandchildren is important, and you have the right to take the steps necessary to understand your options and preserve this vital relationship.

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