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While not as common as cases involving parental rights, we do see quite a few grandparent’s rights cases that involve visitation and (less commonly) custody. If you’re a grandparent, you might wonder when you have the right to legal visitation and custody of your grandchildren. You might not even know that you have these rights.

The relationship that exists between a child and their grandparents is important and should be encouraged. Unfortunately, in child custody cases, maintaining regular contact despite differences between the parents can prove challenging. At Crystal Wright Law we work hard to represent families who struggle with these types of situations. Our team uses creative strategies to ensure you remain a part of your grandchild’s life.

The Role of Grandparents in Child Custody Matters

During a divorce or other types of family law proceedings, issues pertaining to child custody are among those most hotly contested. Children’s parents tend to be at the forefront in these situations, and grandparents may be forgotten.

Fortunately, the laws Georgia supports a grandparent’s legal right to spend time with their grandchildren. Georgia law allows grandparents to file a petition seeking visitation with their grandchildren. The same guidelines for determining parenting time are used in these proceedings:

  • The age and health of the child and grandparents;
  • Their locations and the distance between residences;
  • The previous, established relationship between the grandparents and the child;
  • The ability of the grandparents to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs.

What is the process?

After a grandparent files a petition for visitation rights, the court will investigate to find out whether it is in the child’s best interest to visit with the grandparent. In some cases, a Guardian ad Litem may be appointed. While some cases are handled with a full bench trial, oftentimes these matters can be handled in mediation. Often, parties who are sent to mediation can come up with their own visitation arrangements.

Can I seek custody of my grandchild? 

Yes, but it can be very hard to win. In a custody proceeding between the parents and a grandparent, the court will determine custody based on the best interests of the child standard. The court will begin with a presumption that parental custody is in the child’s best interests, but a grandparent can rebut this presumption with evidence that awarding custody to the grandparent would be in the child’s best interests and would best promote the child’s welfare and happiness.

If you have questions about bringing an action (or intervening in one) for visitation with your grandchild, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney in your area.

CW Law Will Stand Up for Your Rights

If you are being denied access or visitation with your grandchildren, contact Crystal Wright Law today. Our family law practice provides the personalized, professional legal service you need to help ensure your rights are protected.