Home > Custody
Though each is unique, all fifty states have laws regarding the custody rights of grandparents. Custody rights of grandparents may be applicable in cases where a parent or both parents die, or in cases of divorce or separation. Custody rights of grandparents may also apply when the child has lived with the grandparents or great grand parents for a certain period of time and other requirements are met. When a grandparent seeks custody of a grandchild, they must petition the family law court to request full or partial custody of the child or visitation rights.
There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Legal custody determines who will make the major decisions that shape the child's life. These major decisions can involve such things as health care, education, religion, and more. Physical custody involves who the child will live and spend their time with. In most joint custody decisions, one parent will have primary physical custody of the child and the other parent (called the non-custodial parent) will have child visitation rights.
There are cases, however, where custody rights of grandparents apply. There are some court-determined circumstances by which the custody rights of grandparents make it possible for them to request full legal and physical custody of their grandchildren. This may be possible in cases where the grandparent has already assumed a primary parenting role for at least a year, the child lacks adequate parental care from both biological parents, or if the grandparent has reasonable cause to believe that there is child abuse, neglect, substance abuse, or mental illness involved in the parent-child relationship.
For the custody rights of grandparents to be honored, grandparents must prove a few things in court. They must show that grandparent custody is in the best interest of the child, that the grandparent(s) has a genuine concern and care for the child's well being, and that the grandparent-grandchild relationship started with the consent of a parent or previous court order.
Custody rights of grandparents may also be sought for partial physical custody of the child or visitation rights. Partial custody rights of grandparents allow them time spent with the child without the custodial parent's approval or supervision. In other situations, a grandparent may be granted child visitation which allows them to spend time with the child under the supervision of the custodial parent or another appropriate adult. Child visitation rights are typically not denied to grandparents unless there is valid cause for denial.
In many cases, petitioning for the custody rights of grandparents is a complex process that is best pursued with the help of an experienced legal professional. This qualified family law expert can help you develop a strong case that highlights the reasons why grandparent custody or visitation is in the best interests of the children involved.
More information on custody:
Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.