The laws that guide grandparent’s visitation rights are presently fluctuating. Court decisions have changed over the years but every state has varying rules and laws.
Court grants visitation or custody to grandparents if certain conditions available in the state statutes are met. Conditions for a grandparent to gain custody vary from those of visitation rights. A grandparent ought to be familiar with the conditions for either custody or visitation before deciding whether to file a petition to request from a court of law.
Best interests of the child
Courts in every jurisdiction have to consider the “best interests of the child” when granting custody or visitation rights to a grandparent. In a number of states, the applicable law makes available a list of factors the court should consider when deciding a child’s best interests. Other states do not make available those factors in their law, but courts in those states basically identify factors in custody and visitation cases interpreting the state laws.
The following factors that determine the best interest of the child are incorporated into state laws and case laws:
- The child’s need including the physical and emotional health of the child, the child’s safety, and the welfare of the child
- The capacity of the parents and/or grandparents to fulfill the needs of the child
- The desires of the parent(s) and the grandparent(s)
- The desires of the child, if the child can decide for himself or herself.
- The degree of the bond between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
- The duration of the relationship between the grandparent(s) and grandchild
- Proof of abuse or neglect by the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
- Proof of substance abuse by the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
- The child’s ability to adapt to the home, school, or community
- The ability of the parent(s) or grandparent(s) to give the child love, affection, and make contact with the child
- The distance between the location of the child and that of the parent(s) or grandparent(s)
What happens if the biological parent is abusive?
If a grandparent can provide evidence that a parent is abusive, in poor condition, or lacks ability, courts will grant permissive or sometimes permanent rights to grandparents. However, the best interest of the child must be considered.
This is normally an excellent choice for resolving grand parenting visitation issues cordially, when compared to through the courts.
Your grandparent visitation or custody case
The law surrounding child custody and visitation rights of grandparents’ rights are continually changing. You may find it helpful to consult a family law attorney to provide you with the best available guidance.