Disagreements, deaths, divorces, incarcerations and illnesses like addiction can leave families shattered. It’s especially sad when the children caught in these situations may be badly buffeted by forces that they cannot control. What can a grandparent do? When it comes to child custody, grandparents do have rights. If unfortunate circumstances have created a situation where you are no longer able to see your grandchild, you may be able to go to court and win visitation rights. Alternately, if you believe that you are the best choice to raise your grandchild, suing for grandparent child custody is an option.
Grandparent Visitation Rights
The issue of child custody is always complex. It is largely determined by state law, but the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, a piece of federal legislation passed in 1980, demands that all states respect the child custody decrees issued by other states. In 1998, Congress passed additional legislation requiring state courts to enforce grandparental visitation orders from other states. Still, visitation rights for grandparents are fairly new, and winning them is not an easy task. Courts generally weigh a variety of factors when deciding about visitation, including the best interests of the child, the wishes of the various interested parties and the marital status of the parents. They also consider whether the child’s relationship with their grandparents endangers their relationship with their parents.
Grandparent Child Custody With Parental Permission
In some cases, obtaining custody is not a fight. When parents acknowledge that they are unable to care for their child, grandparents often step up to fill the void. If your grandchild is living with you with the consent of their parents, do you need to formalize the arrangement? It depends. At a minimum, you will want to have the legal documentation necessary to ensure that you can arrange for medical care and make other basic decisions for your grandchild. Alternately, you might wish to pursue a formal custody order to define your rights and responsibilities and to bring additional stability to the situation.
Grandparent Child Custody Without Parental Permission
What happens if you disagree with the way your grandchild is being raised, but the parents are unwilling to give up custody? A difficult situation for everyone involved, this type of case requires extreme care. Generally, a parent’s right to raise their child as they see fit supersedes the concerns of a grandparent. For a grandparent to win custody against the wishes of the child’s parent, it is often necessary to demonstrate that the parent is unfit or provide evidence that the child is being abused or neglected.
Grandparent child custody is a complicated and emotionally charged issue. At Cheshire Family Law, we have the expertise and understanding to guide you as you navigate this challenging situation, and we are ready to help you explore the ways that you can protect both your grandchildren and your rights. If you would like to learn more about grandparents’ custody rights of grandchildren, it will be our pleasure to assist you. Contact us online or call us at (561) 677-8090 to arrange a consultation.