You love getting to spoil and spend time with your grandchildren whenever possible, but a divorce or death, and subsequent change in child custody, can make this difficult.
Here at The Fairell Firm, we often use social media to answer broad family law questions from people around the Atlanta and Tucker areas. In today’s blog, we’re going to address a question about family law and custody law that we received from a concerned grandparent:
I have a great relationship with my grandchildren, but my daughter is now deceased and I am concerned about not being able to see my grandkids now that their mother is gone. Is there anything that I can do? -Blayne S.
Keep reading to see how this family law case could play out, and contact The Fairell Firm today to schedule a consultation regarding your questions on family law.
Petition The Court For Grandparent Visitation
Under Georgia custody laws, grandparents do not automatically have the right to visit their grandchildren.
However, as a grandparent, you are fully allowed to petition the court for visitation in certain situations. There are some requirements you must meet first:
- The child’s legal parents must be separated or divorced. A grandparent cannot file a petition for visitation if the child lives with both parents.
- There may not be any other cases before the court involving custody law or visitation rights for the child.
- A grandparent cannot petition for visitation more than once every two years.
- A grandparent cannot petition for visitation in a year that another custody action regarding the child has been filed.
You may join an existing case for custody, visitation, termination of parental rights, or divorce.
Prove that not having visitation would be emotionally harmful to the child.
To gain visitation rights, you must prove that the child’s health or welfare would be harmed by not having a relationship with you. This is proven by considering the following factors:
- Regular visitation – If there is a pattern of regular visitation and frequent contact between the child and the grandparent
- Lived together – If the child and grandparent lived together for at least six months (even with others in the home)
- Financial support – If the grandparent provided financial support for the grandchild’s basic needs for at least one year
- Potential harm – Any circumstance that shows the child would be likely to experience emotional or physical harm if visitation were not granted
What You Can Expect
Ultimately, the court can grant a minimum of 24 hours per month of visitation. This visitation cannot interfere with the child’s school or with their extracurricular activities.
Even if you don’t receive visitation rights, the court can still order the parents to tell you about all public performances, such as recitals, graduations, etc., so you can attend.
Additionally, a parent can petition the court once every two years to either amend or revoke the established visitation rights. If no legal parent is alive or if the living parents have surrendered parental rights, then a grandparent could potentially adopt their grandchild with the help of a lawyer.
Get Help With Family Law In Atlanta Today
Does this situation apply to your family? You may need legal representation from a family lawyer. Here at The Fairell Firm, our team of child custody lawyers will work tirelessly to represent you and arrive at an outcome that will be in the best interest of your grandchild.
For help with family law, including Georgia child support laws, professional family law advice, legitimation, filing for custody, and more, you can count on our custody attorneys. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.