Custody Law For Grandparents: Options & Processes Explained

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As a grandparent, it’s understandable that you want to be a part of your grandchild’s life. Sometimes, this could call for becoming the legal guardian of your grandchild. Child custody laws in Georgia differ from many other places, but custody options for third parties — including grandparents — is an important area of focus of family law.

If you live in the Atlanta area and need help with family law, then you can count on The Fairell Firm. Our child custody lawyers are ready and willing to help you with your family law case — including fighting for legal custody of your grandchild. To understand more about child custody laws in Georgia, get family law advice, or work with a custody attorney, contact The Fairell Firm today.

What is a grandparent?

As defined by law, a grandparent is the parent of a parent of a minor child; the parent of a minor child’s parent who has died; and the parent of a minor child’s parent whose parental rights have been terminated.

Parents of fathers who have not legitimated children born out of wedlock are not considered to be a grandparent under Georgia law. So, if your son had a child out of wedlock and has not gone through the legitimation process, then you are not legally considered the grandparent in the state of Georgia.

Can grandparents have legal custody?

If the court determines that an award of custody to the grandparent would be best for the child, then grandparents may gain legal custody.

In family law, it’s assumed that the natural parent is the best parent for the child, but this presumption may be overcome by proving that awarding legal custody to a third party (i.e. the grandparent):

  • Is in the best interest of the child
  • Best promotes the child’s welfare and happiness

As the grandparent, you must show by clear and convincing evidence that the grandchild would suffer harm if left to the care of the biological parent. If it is proven, then your custody lawyer must then prove that having you, the grandparent, as the legal guardian will best promote the child’s best interest.

What is temporary guardianship?

Temporary guardianship grants the grandparent, or any third party, the rights to do anything the parent could do. This is most commonly needed when children are school-aged and need to be enrolled in school.

Another reason is to get health insurance under a grandparent’s policy or through the state if the grandparent applies for assistance.

How do I get a temporary guardianship?

According to family law, the parents must consent. Then, the grandparent files the petition for guardianship along with the consent. Depending on the county, guardianship could be granted right away; some require a home visit to make sure it’s suitable.

What is grandparent power of attorney?

This is an even faster and easier way to get legal authority to act on behalf of a grandchild. With a grandparent power of attorney, you could enroll the child in school and extracurricular activities; have access to school records and disclose the contents to others; and arrange for and consent to medical treatment, dental treatment, and mental health treatment if necessary.

Only one parent is needed to grant grandparent power of attorney.

What about child support for grandparents?

Grandparents can apply for child support at no charge at the local department of child support services. The mother and father of the child will both be responsible for child support payments as both are considered the noncustodial parent.

Family Law In Atlanta

For help with legal custody, temporary guardianship, grandparent visitation, power of attorney, or child support as a grandparent in Georgia, you can rely on The Fairell Firm. Contact us today to get started with this aspect of family law and work with a custody attorney.


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