Child Custody: What Rights Do Grandparents Have?

Grandparents’ Rights in Child Custody CasesIn a divorce, one of the most stressful aspects is the determination of who gets child custody. It is a lot easier to decide on the division or assignment of property, especially if you have made a prenuptial agreement right before your marriage, compared to deciding who gets to keep the kids. Usually, psychologists are called in by courts to help establish what is in the best interest of the child. Unfortunately, grandparents’ rights are never taken into account.

Grandparents’ Rights to Child Custody

Only in very rare circumstances will a Family Court grant grandparents custody of the child in a divorce case, according to Long Island family law attorneys. Often, if both parents, the parties to the divorce, are deemed to be incapable of providing for the best interest of the child, it is possible that the child will be assigned to their grandparents.

General Requirements

Different states and jurisdictions will have different requirements for the awarding of child custody to grandparents. Generally, however, if the child’s biological parents are both deceased, there is a strong likelihood that child custody may be awarded to surviving grandparents. However, the fundamental requirement of establishing filial relationship with the child must be met. This means that it must be proven first that the grandparents are really related to the child.

In case the custodial parent dies, grandparents must be able to prove in court that the surviving parent is not fit to take care of their child. Generally however, even if the relationship between the child and grandparent is strong, if the parent strongly disagrees with the relationship, then child custody will be difficult for the grandparent.

Child Visitation Rights

While child custody is a difficult legal battle for grandparents, obtaining child visitation rights are generally easier with many states and jurisdictions allowing for grandparent visitation rights even if both parents are already dead and the child has been given for adoption or sent to a foster home. There are several conditions that grandparents have to meet in order to be granted child visitation rights, though. And these are often different from one state or jurisdiction to another.

If you are a grandparent, filing for child custody may not necessarily bring you the result that you expect. A more favorable alternative is to apply for child visitation rights instead.

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