Child custody is decided based on the best interest of the child or children. If the parent or primary guardian is unfit to care for the child in question, grandparent custody may be awarded. In these cases, the grandparent must present a case that the current situation is unsafe for the child. If you are currently seeking grandparent custody, you will need to know the laws and procedures. Read below for a guide on grandparent custody rights.
If a grandparent wants custody of their grandchild, they will first have to file a petition with the court. They will have to explain or show why giving custody is in the best interest of the child.
There are a few situations where it is more likely to be granted. For example, if both of the child’s parents are deceased. However, if just one parent is deceased, the other parent is more likely to have custody.
Grandparents may also be granted custody if the child’s parents are deemed unfit. Usually, this means that the child is living in an unsafe environment. If a court finds that the child is in danger living with their parents, a grandparent could be awarded custody.
There are also cases in which the parents agree to give custody. In these cases, the family can decide on the living arrangements and visitation times for the parents.
The Burden of Proof for Custody
As in other legal cases, a burden of proof must be met. For this type of custody, the burden of proof can be hard to meet, especially if one or both parents are still alive.
They must show that it is the best interest of the child. They also have to show that they are healthy enough and that they can financially support the child. In the event that there are other family members competing for custody, the grandparent must demonstrate why their custody is the best thing for the child.
Increasing the Likelihood of Grandparent Custody
If a child has lived with their grandparent for a year or more, a court may be more likely to grant custody. This shows that there is already a bond between the grandparent and grandchild.
Courts also tend to want children to stay in the home they are currently living. So if the child has established a home with their grandparent, they may have a better chance.
In the event that it is not granted, a grandparent can also petition for visitation rights.
Doing What’s Best for the Child
Custody cases are decided based on the best outcome for the child. Courts are trying to protect children and assure they live in a safe and healthy home. Grandparent custody is awarded only if the court decides it is in the best interest of the child.
If you are a grandparent interested in filing for custody of your grandchild, contact us today and learn how we can help you.