Experienced Grandparent Visitation Attorneys Working Hard to Keep Your Grandchildren Close
When it comes to children’s visitation rights, it can seem unusual to include the grandparents in the child’s life. In some cases, however, the grandparents play a more significant role in the child’s lives than their own parents do. Protecting the right to see your grandchildren is important. Having a team of experienced professionals to make sure you have proper visitation with the grandchildren in your life is one of the areas in which OMG Law Firm is here for you.
Call us today at (870) 336-6505 to learn more about how we can help you. We look forward to your call.
When Would Grandparent Visitation Rights Come into Question?
It may seem commonplace that grandparents get to see their grandchildren, as some of us have families that live close to one another and have strong bonds throughout the generations of our families. For others, this can raise questions and valid concerns when life changes happen, making it harder for grandparents to stay present in their grandchildren’s lives.
For example, if the child’s parents are no longer together due to a death, a separation, or a divorce, this can leave grandparents wondering where they will fit in. Maybe the custodial parent moves out of the area or wants to withhold the children from their grandparents.
Another example is if a child is born out of wedlock and the maternal grandparents want visitation, or if paternity is established for a child born out of wedlock and the paternal grandparents want visitation.
What Do Judges Look at When Deciding on Grandparent Visitation?
When determining visitation for grandparents in a child’s life, a judge will undertake the decision with the assumption of the parent as a priority, assuming that the parent has the best interest of the child at the forefront of their mind. This isn’t always the case, unfortunately, as some parents have personal issues with family that supersedes their child’s best interest, but it is what the court will assume unless circumstances are proven otherwise.
If a grandparent wants to obtain visitation rights, it is up to them to prove not only that there is a significant relationship in place with the child but that it is in the best interest of the child in general for them to retain contact, and the judge will need to weigh their explanation against that of the parent. Was the grandparent a caregiver of the child for a significant period of time? Were they consistently present in the child’s life for at least the past year? Is losing the grandparent relationship detrimental to the child? All of these are questions the judge will take into consideration when making their decision.
If the grandparent can prove that they were, in fact, a caregiver recently for at least six months, that they have been in close contact with the child for at least a year, and that harm could come to the child by severing that relationship, the judge will likely award visitation to the grandparent.
What Other Factors Are Important?
In order to obtain visitation, the grandparents must be willing to work with the custodial parent, as that is also what is in the best interest of the child. Are they able to provide the necessary guidance, caring, and love to the child as they mature? Judges will look at the bigger picture and keep the child’s future in mind while making their decision as well.
If a great-grandparent wants visitation, they may also request it. It can be granted or denied similarly to the grandparents.
If grandparent visitation is approved, the visitation can occur whether the child is with the mother or the father, regardless of who the grandparent is directly related.
Also, modifications can be made to visitation to accommodate future changes in the child’s life, when there are other grandparents involved that have not yet formally requested visitation, or if a visitation order isn’t being followed correctly and the grandparents or parents of the child want to take legal action to make changes.
What About Grandparent Visitation Rights After Adoption?
Unfortunately, upon adoption, the biological grandparents no longer have rights to visitation of the child. Even if the child was adopted by other family members, legal visitation could not be obtained. If the child was adopted by anyone other than the child’s parents or stepparent, grandparent visitation would not be granted.
What if a Grandparent Wants to Petition for Custody?
In some cases, custody can be granted to the grandparent instead of the parent. A grandparent has the right to petition the courts for custody of the child if the grandchild lived with the grandparent for at least six months before the child’s first birthday or for at least one year if the child is older than one year. If the grandparent was the child’s primary caregiver as well as their main financial support while living with them, and if the grandparent had physical custody of the child within one year.
Similar to parental custody, if there is a proven history of abuse or a violent criminal background, grandparent custody is less likely to be granted. Also, in keeping the child’s best interest at heart, courts will want to see who is the most willing to cooperate with the non-custodial parent and family for the sake of allowing both sides to remain present in the child’s life as they mature.
At OMG Law Firm, we have helped multiple families obtain visitation rights or make modifications to their visitation arrangements. By working with family law attorneys that are well-versed in grandparent visitation, you can rest easy knowing we will work tirelessly to put together a strong case for you and walk you through the process. Contact us today at (870) 336-6505.