Monday, 17 October 2011

Georgia Grandparent’s Rights

Grandparents love their grandchildren and when problems occur with the parents, in some cases their relationship with their grandchildren is reduced or even taken away. Some are not willing to lose this important familial relationship and will fight for Georgia grandparent’s rights. The scenarios include:

  • The grandparent may have had a disagreement with the parents. The parents are refusing to let the grandparents see the children. In Georgia, judges have been reluctant to overrule a parent’s objections unless the grandparents can show “harm” if there is no visitation. In other words, if two parents who are still married to each other that agree that the children should not see the grandparents and the children are healthy and well-cared for, there may be little the grandparent can do.
  • When parents divorce the children’s relationship with their grandparents may change. Children who are used to spending weekends with a favored grandparent are now spending every other weekend with their non-custodial parent. The split parenting arrangement may leave little time for the grandparent to spend time with the child. As stated above, the courts almost always favor the parent’s time with the child over the grandparent’s time. The keywords are “in the best interest of the children” and this is the standard for the courts. Unless the grandparent can show that the children are harmed by the change in the relationship, the courts are likely to do nothing.
  • When parents are deemed unfit to care for the children grandparents are faced with another dilemma. In some instances, the state has assumed custody of the children before the grandparents know what has happened. If the state puts the children up for adoption, the grandparent may want a chance to adopt.  In situations where the parent has his or her parental rights taken away, the grandparent has a good chance at adoption. The grandparents would have to prove that they are stable and are healthy enough to provide a good home. Grandparents raising grandchildren has increased in recent years. Statistics from the 2000 U.S. Census show that 6.3%, or 4.5 million, of American children under the age of 18 live in grandparent-headed households.

As the definition of a traditional family has changed in recent years, the court rulings have often reflected these changes. Georgia grandparent’s rights are decided just like any other case based on the premise listed above, “what is in the best interest of the child?” Any grandparent who has concerns about the welfare of their grandchildren should contact a Georgia family law attorney.

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