Clayton County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers Guiding You Through the Family Courts
Having grandchildren is a special kind of joy. You’re able to experience the world again with a fresh perspective through your grandchildren’s eyes, and they get the advantage of your wisdom and family stories. But what happens when a divorce or other family issues makes it harder — or impossible — to see your grandchildren? There are provisions for grandparents’ rights in Georgia, and you may be able to file to get court-ordered visitation with your grandchildren.
At Lunn Law LLC, our family law attorneys understand that it’s important for grandparents to have ongoing and frequent contact with their grandchildren. Call our office if you have questions about what rights you may have and how to file a case.
How Does the State of Georgia Deal With Grandparents’ Rights?
Grandparents’ rights are a relatively new issue to the family courts. For many years, grandparents did not have any legal recourse if they were not able to see their grandchildren after their child went through a divorce or passed away. However, Georgia is one of the states that does provide grandparents with legal standing to do just that.
The court system recognizes the importance of grandparent-grandchild relationships and seeks to make decisions that are in the best interests of the children. According to GA Code § 19-7-3 (2020), “Any grandparent shall have the right to file an original action for visitation rights to a minor child.”
This can be extended to other family members, including great-grandparents and adult siblings of the child, if there is “any question concerning the custody of a minor child, a divorce of the parents or a parent of such minor child, a termination of the parental rights of either parent of such minor child, or visitation rights concerning the such minor child or whenever there has been an adoption in which the adopted child has been adopted by the child’s blood relative or by a stepparent.”
It’s important to note that these provisions are only in situations where there is a divorce or other issue of custody and are not applicable when the child is still living with both parents.
Can Grandparents File for Child Custody?
In some cases, a grandparent may want more than visitation with a child, and it is possible for a grandparent to be awarded child custody. However, this usually only happens if both parents are ruled unfit or have passed away, and the judge believes that living with the grandparent would be in the child’s best interests. If at least one parent is still living and providing adequate care for the child, it’s impossible for a grandparent to file for custody because it infringes on parental rights.
Can Grandparents File for Visitation If the Parents Are Still Married?
Family dynamics can be complicated, and if your child is keeping you from your grandchildren, you may be wondering if you can file for visitation. However, if the parents of your grandchild are still married, you are not able to seek visitation rights or get court-ordered grandparent visitation. One of the parental rights is to be able to socialize a child as the parents see fit, and this includes who to let them spend time with. However, if the parents are proven to cause emotional or physical harm to the child to the point of being ruled unfit, you may be able to petition for visitation or custody at that time.
How Can a Grandparent’s Rights Attorney in Georgia Help Me?
The family law courts are tasked with determining what is in the best interests of the child and making decisions that support those interests. In many cases, this means ensuring that their relationships with their grandparents continue unimpeded. However, these cases are rarely simple, and it can still be an uphill battle for grandparents to get court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren. This is where it’s important to seek help from an attorney who has experience with grandparent visitation rights in Georgia. A lawyer can help you understand if your case qualifies, file a motion on your behalf, and ensure you know what to do if the parent refuses to comply with the court’s order.
Now that you know that Georgia law does provide some legal grounds for grandparents to have visitation rights, it’s time to take the next step. Call our office at 770-762-4628 to schedule an appointment with an experienced family law attorney who can help you with your case.