Grandparents who care for their grandchildren regularly, because of a court order or their children are unfit, may want to think about getting legal custody. Without legal custody, grandparents may find themselves unable to take advantage of certain benefits their grandchildren may be entitled to or provide proper medical care.

Custody and Visitation Rights Of Grandparents

When a minor child’s nuclear family is in disarray as the result of a divorce or the death of a parent, the custody or visitation of the minor child can become an issue. Fortunately, there is legal precedent of granting custody of minor children to the immediate family members including grandparents.

Before grandparents are “considered,” the court will first attempt to grant custody to the other parent if one parent dies or does not want to retain custody. As you would expect, parents have an automatic first right to raise their children without interference from other relatives or grandparents if the parents are declared fit parents. Society and the courts assume that a fit parent will always act in the better interests of the children.

Grandparents need to demonstrate the value of the Grandparent Relationship

If grandparents desire visitation rights with their grandchildren and the parent with custody objects, grandparents must demonstrate to the court that it would be in the best interests of the grandchildren to have physical contact with the grandparents. Similarly, the court will want you to demonstrate why it would be harmful to the grandchildren’s mental health if they were deprived of physical contact with their grandparents. Also considered is whether there was a pre-existing relationship with the grandchildren before awarding visitation rights to grandparents.

When a grandparent desires to seek custody of their grandchildren, the conditions to meet are very similar to seeking visitation. The grandparents and their attorney need to clearly show the court that it would not be in the best interests of the minor children to remain in custody of the parent and that there are harmful conditions.

Harmful conditions – would be things like abuse or neglect of minor children or drug usage of the parents.

If you desire visitation or custody of your grandchildren, there is no one more experienced in the Juvenile Dependency courts and process than Vincent W. Davis. Call to speak with him personally.

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