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Do grandparents have custody rights under Georgia law?

On Behalf of | Dec 7, 2023 | Family Law

Most conflicts related to child custody and visitation occur between divorced or separated parents. However, there are sometimes members of an extended family who would prefer to have regular time with minor children.

Grandparents may spend multiple days a week with their grandchildren. They may have a very close bond that helps provide the children with a sense of family, tradition and social support that they would not get if they only had their parents in their lives.

Unfortunately, when relationships change, parents may start denying grandparents access to the children in the family. Do grandparents in Georgia have any custody or visitation rights that they can exercise in family court?

Yes, Georgia law lets grandparents take legal action

The law in Georgia recognizes that there are often people other than parents who play important roles in the upbringing of children. State law specifically recognizes how close grandparent relationships can be and extends certain legal rights to grandparents concerned about their grandchildren.

If the children have experienced a family disruption, like divorce, state termination of parental rights or outside adoption, the law allows for grandparent visitation. Grandparents have the option of requesting visitation through the family courts when parents do not permit regular visits through informal, amicable arrangements.

Grandparents may receive priority consideration for placement if the state decides to remove the children from the care of their parents. They can potentially take care of the children instead of letting them go into foster care. Sometimes, grandparents can adopt their grandchildren if they assume a parental role.

As with most custody issues, grandparent visitation cases should always prioritize the best interests of the children in the family. Judges will place more importance on the needs and well-being of the grandchildren than the theoretical rights of the grandparents.

Those seeking grandparent visitation or custody often need evidence of a pre-existing relationship and a positive dynamic with their grandchildren to help them secure the best outcome. Learning more about the unique family law statutes in Georgia may help people take action when they can no longer see the children they love.