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Grandparent Rights, Visitation and Custody



How to Enforce Grandparent Rights

Grandparents who find themselves in a situation where the parents of a grandchild are unable or unwilling to act as guardians and the custody of a grandchild is in question may feel helpless about enforcing their role in the child's life. Rights of grandparents can often be gained under state laws allowing temporary custody through a parent signing a power of attorney. Sometimes it may be necessary to petition a court for guardianship if there's a need for placing a child with grandparents as parents for longer than a year. US Legal Forms offers affordable, state-specific power of attorney and guardianship forms for seeking grandparents rights, such as grandparents custody and grandparents visitation rights.

Reasons to Enforce Rights of Grandparents

Considering grandparents as parents of a child is most likely to occur if the parents of the child are either deceased or absent. Common reasons for parents to be absent in the long term include incarceration, drug use, and abuse of a child. The court attempts to ensure that children are able to grow up in a healthy home environment that nurtures and protects the child. Some parents are incapable of providing this environment to a child, and this is where the court can step in to appoint a different guardian.

Process of Enforcing Grandparents Rights

The process of obtaining grandparents custody differs from state to state, but laws in every state are in place allowing parenting rights related to grandchildren to be awarded to grandparents depending on the unique situation. Grandparents who are not seeking full custody of grandchildren can still seek grandparents visitation rights. Having time to visit with grandchildren can be a positive experience for everyone involved, so the court may be willing to grant visitation rights in order to ensure that children are allowed opportunities to get to know a grandparent.

The court's overriding consideration in regard to the custody and visitation rights of family members of small children is to make a decision that is in the best interest of the child.

Additional Legal Considerations

Some states will not allow a grandparent to receive guardianship rights of a child unless one of the biological parents of the child is deceased. However, this stipulation tends to be an exception rather than a rule across the United States.

The rights of a grandparent in the case of a child who has been adopted out by the grandparent's biological child vary. Some states allow this individual to retain the right to seek visitation or other rights, but most states discontinue any rights that the individual would have regarding a grandchild as soon as the adoption process is completed.

Complications may arise if the parties involved do not live in the same state. Most states require the court in other states to abide by judgment made in the state in which the child currently resides. Federal laws prohibit other states from making contradictory judgments in this situation.

The bottom line is that the court will always seek to make a ruling that is in the best interest of the child.