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What Rights Do Grandparents Have?

It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child. What we see in our family and divorce law practice is that several members of a family play an integral part in the rearing of children. In particular, grandparents often provide emotional and financial support for their grandchildren. In fact, there are certain situations in which grandparents can intervene to ensure that the interests of the child are best protected. Under O.C.G.A 19-7-3, Georgia allows grandparents to pursue the following legal actions:

  • Visitation rights
  • Termination of the parental rights of either parent of a minor child
  • Adoption of a child

The Court may grant visitation rights if:

  • it finds that the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless such visitation is granted; or
  • if the best interests of the child would be served by such visitation

Also, per O.C.G.A. 19-7-3, grandparents can seek custody of a grandchild. The standard for the court in making a custody determination is what is in the best interests of the child. The court will begin with the presumption that the best interests of the child would be served by the grandchildren remaining in the custody of their parents. However, this presumption can be rebutted and such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Factors such as drug abuse by the parents, financial inability to provide for the children, physical or emotional abuse, or neglect can all be factors a court will consider in making a custody determination. Grandparents are usually in the best position to play the role of whistle blower. Douglasville Family and Divorce Attorneys handles cases involving the rights of grandparents and their concerns regarding the welfare of their grandchildren.