What rights do you have as a grandparent?
We all know family matters can be complex and stressful. If your family has been impacted by death, divorce, drug or alcohol abuse, estrangement, abandonment, or incarceration, then you may be wondering what your rights as a grandparent are in regards to your grandchildren. The short answer is that you have no rights, at least not automatically. If you want to win grandparent rights, legal action will likely be necessary.
Under the right circumstances, a grandparent can win court mandated visitation with their grandchildren, or even custody. Of course, every situation is different, and some cases may be as simple as filling out the necessary paperwork to formalize a relationship that already exists. However, in some cases, the fight for grandparent rights ends in a protracted legal battle, and can be painful for all parties involved.
Considerations in grandparent rights cases
So, what factors impact a legal bid for grandparent rights? As with any family litigation involving children, the courts guiding principle is the best interests of the child. The factors the court will consider differ depending on whether the grandparent is seeking visitation rights or custody of their grandchild.
Grandparent Rights – Custody
The court’s primary interest is the safety and welfare of the child. This is where issues like addiction, crime, and abandonment often come into play. If you can demonstrate that the child’s parents are unfit, then a bid for custody on the part of the grandparents can likely proceed. It is important to note; however, that the court’s will want to avoid separating a parent and child if possible. You must be able to prove, in court, that the child’s health or safety are in danger should they remain with their birth parents.
Check back soon for Grandparent Rights – Part 2