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Most people know that the bond between grandparents and grandchildren is a special one, to say the least. Having supportive relationships with grandparents can have a positive impact on a child and their overall well-being.
In most cases, grandparents desire for their grandchildren to have the best that the world can offer. This can be difficult if the world they live in is less than what it should be and maybe a reason to want to take action concerning custody.
If you are a grandparent and want to know more about how to gain custody of your grandchildren, keep reading below.
Why Would a Grandparent Want to Get Custody of Their Grandchildren?
There are many reasons why a grandparent may want to gain custody of their grandchildren that includes providing them with a better living environment. While as a parent you want the best for your children, you may find yourself wanting even better for your grandchildren.
It is somewhat difficult to be a parent of a child who may not take parenting as seriously as you think it should. Oftentimes this can translate into the belief that the child is not being taken care of as well as you would take care of them.
Other reasons grandparents may seek custody of their grandchildren include the child not being taken care of properly, the living environment being toxic, the child’s parents not being around, and much more. Depending on the situation, this can cause a grandparent to want to take action.
It is important to keep in mind that, in the eyes of the law, there must be a valid reason for wanting to take custody of a grandchild. This means that you must be able to show proof of whatever you believe to be the reason for the removal from their home.
While it is the privilege of a grandparent to have access to their grandchildren, some circumstances call for more than just access. If this is the case for you, you will need to ensure that you know your rights and what you need to prove before you can get custody of them.
Rights of Grandparents Concerning Custody
Depending on the state in which you live, there are a wide variety of rules and regulations that exist on the custody of children. This is especially true when it comes to grandparents who wish to gain custody of their grandchildren.
While many states allow a grandparent to file for custody of their grandchildren, other states will only allow them to apply for visitation rights. It is important to know the laws and regulations in your state before you begin the process of getting custody.
It is also important to note that in most states, it is not an easy task for a grandparent to gain custody of their grandchildren. This is mostly because the courts typically believe that it is in a child’s best interest to be with their parents when possible.
With that being said, it is not uncommon for grandparents to gain custody of their grandchildren in some circumstances. However, you will likely have a long battle ahead, especially if the parents are against the arrangement.
If both parents of the grandchildren are still alive and are in good health, it is typically an uphill battle for a grandparent to intercede. It is not an impossible task, however, especially if the grandparent can show that the child would be better off with them instead of in their home environment.
The bottom line when it comes to grandparent rights is that it depends on the state in which you live. This is because the law is different concerning family matters in different parts of the United States.
What Circumstances Allow For Grandparents to Get Custody?
There are, however, certain circumstances that allow for grandparents to get custody of their grandchildren under the law. Keep in mind that these situations are uncommon and only apply to certain individuals.
It is crucial to remember that while these circumstances exist, they may vary from state to state since not all view grandparents as having the same rights. Because of this, if any of the situations apply to you then you are encouraged to contact an attorney who specializes in family law in your state.
Here are some of the circumstances for which some states require to be the case for a grandparent to file for custody of their grandchildren:
- Parents of the child are deemed to be unfit with reasons of neglect, abuse, or criminal conduct present
- Death of one or both of the parents of the child
- Divorce of parents of the child
- One or both of the child’s parents are unable to be found
- The child has been removed from the parent’s home by child protective services and placed in the care of the grandparents
- The child is of the age that can choose where they would like to live
- The mother of the child is underage and unable to take care of the child on their own
- The parent or parents are sent to prison and were already living with the grandparents
- The grandparents stated in a will that they will become the guardians in the event of the death of the parents
While these are likely not all of the circumstances that exist in many states that would allow grandparents to file for custody of their grandchildren, they are the most common. When any of these reasons exist, it is more likely that a state will allow the grandparents to file for custody.
Steps For Filing for Custody of Grandchildren
If you are a grandparent and believe that any of the above-mentioned circumstances apply to your situation, then you may want to consult with a family law attorney. They can guide you through the appropriate steps to make your case with the courts.
Wondering what steps need to be taken to ensure that your custody case is taken seriously? Read on to learn more.
Keep a Calendar
When you decide to fight for custody of your grandchildren, the burden of proof lies on you and your record keeping. This means that you have to show the court that the child has been with you for an extended period, more than with the parents.
The best way to do this is to keep a calendar that outlines when the child is with you and then keep it updated regularly. In some states the time they are with you should be continuous, however, in other states, the total time can be broken up.
Proof of a Relationship Between Grandparents and Grandchild
Some states will want you to show that you have a current and ongoing relationship with your grandchild. This requirement can usually be documented with pictures of you with the grandchildren as another piece of evidence.
Keep in mind that this proof should be photos that show that relationship over some time. A judge who is deciding what is in the best interest of a child will want to know that you have been there for them for some time.
Testimony from Experts
Another step in the process of gaining custody of your grandchildren is to provide various testimony from various experts who are involved in the situation. This includes those who can vouch for the bond between the parties and those who see regularly the care that is provided.
One type of expert may be a therapist or counselor who has been seeing the grandparent and grandchild and can speak for the bond between the two. Even if a counselor has not been involved from the beginning this type of expert should be consulted.
Others who may be able to speak to the care provided by the grandparent over time are teachers, doctors, and other school personnel. These are typically experts who see the ongoing relationship regularly and can speak to that.
Meet With a Lawyer
Once you have the above information gathered, you will need to set up a meeting with a lawyer who specializes in family law. They will be able to tell you the next steps you need to take and what your chances of winning the case may be.
They are also the ones who will file all of the paperwork with the court and be the liaison between you and the judge. Relying on the expertise of a lawyer will be your best bet in winning the case overall.
How Difficult is it to Gain Custody of Grandchildren?
The biggest question that is often asked when it comes to grandparents getting custody of their grandchildren is how difficult the process is. The truth is that it is typically a difficult process to accomplish, especially if the parents are still alive and involved.
Since most courts believe that the best interest of the child lies with being with both parents, it can be an uphill battle for a grandparent to take custody. The easiest way to make this happen is to have the direct permission of the parents who will have to legally sign custody over to the grandparent either permanently or temporarily.
Reference Legal Explanations
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"How to Get Custody of Grandchildren". Legal Explanations. Accessed on February 23, 2024. https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-get-custody-of-grandchildren/.
"How to Get Custody of Grandchildren". Legal Explanations, https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-get-custody-of-grandchildren/. Accessed 23 February, 2024
How to Get Custody of Grandchildren. Legal Explanations. Retrieved from https://legal-explanations.com/blog/how-to-get-custody-of-grandchildren/.