Grandparent Visitation: When Parents Are Unable to Care for their Child

Grandparents play a significant role in the development of children alongside parents and other family members.

But some parents may not be able to care for their children, leaving grandparents to take over their responsibilities while looking out for the best interests of their grandchildren.

Understanding how this impacts the visitation rights of grandparents is critical to maintaining the integrity of the entire family.

The following will help you understand visitation rights for grandparents and how those rights can be protected when parents are unable to provide the care that children need.

Granting Visitation Rights

The visitation rights of grandparents are recognized by state laws. They allow grandparents to support the development and emotional needs of grandchildren.

These rights are granted in cases where the parents of the child have passed away or are incapacitated. Parents who become incarcerated for any reason may also see their children placed in the care of grandparents.

Grandparents can secure visitation rights when the grandchildren have been placed into foster care or have been adopted. Visitation rights may not be granted when grandchildren live with both parents.

Grandparents can file a petition for visitation rights only when it serves the best interests of the child. If denying visitation rights results in some harm to their grandchildren, court judges may grant them visitation rights.

Other factors that impact this decision include financial support provided by grandparents for a period of more than one year or if the child lived with his or her grandparents for a minimum of six months.

Georgia Courts and Visitation Rights for Grandparents

When deciding to grant visitation rights, court judges in Georgia place the preference of the parents before any others.

The best interests of the child are also considered, and visitation rights may be denied if judges believe that it would interfere with the child’s education.

Judges may also implement a minimum amount of time that grandparents must spend with grandchildren when visitation rights are granted. This can be as little as 24 hours each month and can be higher if necessary.

When one parent is incapacitated, incarcerated, or deceased, that parent’s parents can be granted visitation rights. Any conflicts or disagreements related to visitation rights can be resolved through mediation.

Guardians may be assigned to represent the child in a case. Parents, teachers, doctors, and others are interviewed to determine how visitation rights will be established.

Other Visitation Considerations

It’s the responsibility of the grandparents to prove that the best interests of children will be served by granting visitation rights.

In addition, a request for visitation rights can only be made every two years. Visitation requests may not be submitted in the presence of other legal proceedings related to the child’s custody.

Visitation rights may be modified by the child’s parents or another legal guardian. Requests for modifications can only be made once within each 2-year period.

If grandparents have established visitation rights, those rights may be terminated in cases where the child is adopted by anyone other than a blood relative.

Adoption by stepparents can result in the termination of visitation rights for grandparents if a biological parent has lost his or her parental rights.

Grandparents can secure visitation rights when parents are unable to care for their children. Understanding the factors that influence the decisions made by the courts helps you determine the best legal options for your needs.

Establishing the right to visit grandchildren serves the benefits of children while protecting the long-term wellbeing of the entire family.