Grandparents Custody Rights
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Grandparents Custody Rights
There are circumstances in which a child’s best interests would be better served living with someone else, are common. Since grandparents sometimes have a large role in the rearing of children, they may be afforded visitation as well as custody rights.
Grandparents’ Rights in a Custody Battle with the Child’s Parent
In most states, grandparent(s) will have to show significant evidence that a parent is unfit to retain custody of their child. Every court considers what is referred to as the “best interest of the child doctrine” before ruling in favor of a grandparent and rights to custody. If criteria are met that suggest a child would be better off living with a grandparent, then the court will generally grant the grandparent custody.
There are many factors considered when deciding the best interest of a child, here are just a few:
- The needs, safety, and welfare of the child.
- The capability of the parent(s) and/or the grandparent(s) to meet the child’s needs.
- The relationship between the child and grandparent(s).
- Evidence of abuse, substance abuse or neglect.
- Incarceration or mental health issues of parent(s).
Another hurdle for grandparents in a custody battle with a parent, is the “parental rights doctrine.” This simply states that it is usually in the best interest of the child to be raised by his or her biological parent(s). Any time a non-parent, such as a grandparent requests custody to be awarded to them, the court looks at the following:
- Both parents are alive, but unfit to care for the child.
- The custodial parent is dead, and the surviving parent is unwilling or unable to take custody of the child.
- The child has been living with the non-parent for a long time.
- Both parents have given up their rights to the child.
Grandparents’ Rights in a Custody Battle with Someone Other than the Child’s Parent
Typically, the court will favor awarding child custody to a grandparent over someone other than the parent. For example, if a custodial parent dies, the following factors, in conjunction with the best interest of the child, are taken into consideration:
- The parents left a will naming the grandparents as guardians.
- The child and custodial parent were already living with the grandparents, before the parent died.
- The grandchild wants to live with the grandparents.
Each situation is different, as are state laws. Consulting with an attorney, and knowing where you stand in terms of custody rights, is the first step in building your case.
Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding my Custody Rights as a Grandparent?
If you are a grandparent interested in learning more about your custody rights, an experienced family law attorney can help. Since all family law issues are unique, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer, learn your rights, and decide on your best options.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 07-21-2017 02:09 PM PDT
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