Grandparents are becoming the primary custodian when raising a grandchild. If you are seeking grandparents’ custody rights of your grandchild, you might be wondering if you are within your rights.
When determining matters of grandparent child custody, courts are traditionally guided by the best interests of the child. What does the court consider when deciding whether or not something is in a child’s best interest? We’ve outlined a few scenarios which might be a factor in helping you seek grandparents’ custody rights
Needs of the Child
Before deciding on custody arrangements, a court considers the basic needs of the child. A variety of elements will be examined, including the child’s general welfare, physical health, emotional well-being and safety. Their adjustment to their home, school and community will also be taken into consideration. The physical distance between the child, parents and grandparents may also factor into the court’s calculations.
Signs of Abuse
No one wants to place a child in a home where mistreatment is likely to occur. Therefore, evidence of abuse or neglect by a parent or grandparent will definitely influence a court’s findings regarding a child’s best interests. Evidence that a parent or grandparent has a substance abuse issue will also play a role in the court’s conclusions.
Wishes of the Family
Courts understand that custody cases are really about people, and the wishes of the individuals involved do matter. When it comes to a grandparent’s custody rights, the desires of both the parents and the grandparents will be considered. If children are able to make decisions for themselves, their wishes will also be taken into account. It is important to note that there is a general presumption that parents should retain custody. Grandparents hoping to obtain custody of a grandchild are most likely to succeed if they have the consent of the parents or the parents have been declared unfit.
Intangibles may be difficult to measure, but they do have an impact on the decisions made during custody cases. A judge considering a grandparents’ custody rights will often look at the length of time that they have invested in building a relationship with their grandchild. Of course, duration alone is not enough. The strength of their bond is also factored into the custody decision. In addition, the court will evaluate the relationships between parent and child and parent and grandparent as it tries to identify what custody arrangement will best meet the child’s needs.
Capabilities for Care
While a willingness to take on the responsibilities of being a child’s caregiver is crucial, it is not enough to win custody. The court also assesses capabilities. The ability of the parent to meet the basic needs of the child will be considered. The court will also appraise the parent’s capacity to offer the child love, affection and emotional support. Grandparents hoping to win custody of their grandchild must be prepared to demonstrate that they are capable of caring for the child and providing the love and positive attention every child deserves.
Assisting Florida families with their legal needs since 1988, Eric C. Cheshire has a firm grasp of what it takes to win in the courtroom. Committed to providing quality service to all his clients, he approaches each case with honesty, empathy and professional expertise. If you have questions about grandparent child custody or are curious about a grandparent’s rights, contact Cheshire Family Law today at (561) 677-8090 or fill out our online question form.