During and after the divorce and separation process, children tend to be the ones who suffer the most. There are a number of studies that have been conducted over the years revealing just how traumatizing the effects of divorce can be on children. In an increasing number of situations, grandparents are assuming the role as primary caretakers following divorces. If you are a grandparent in Arizona who finds yourself in such a situation, it helps to understand some details about this process and your rights as a grandparent. In many situations, it is also a wise idea to obtain the assistance of a skilled lawyer.
Grandparents’ Rights in Georgia
State law in Georgia acknowledges the importance of the relationship between a child and his or her grandparents by consistently upholding visitation rights for grandparents. This applies in situations in which one parent has passed away or is otherwise incapable of caring for the child. In situations in which the parents are still married, however, visitation rights for grandparents will not be upheld by courts.
In 2012, the Governor of Georgia signed a law that increased the ability of grandparents to obtain visitation rights for their grandchildren. The law allows judges to find that the best interests of a child would be impaired without contact between the child and his or her grandparents.
The law also removed language in Georgia code stating that there is not a presumption in favor of grandparent visitation rights. Instead, the law added language stating that in considering whether the welfare of a child would be harmed by withholding such visitation, a child can be found to be likely harmed by removal of grandparent visitation rights in one of several situations. These situations include when a minor child has lived with a grandparent for at least six months, the grandparent has provided financial support for the basic needs of the child for a period of at least one year, and when an established pattern of visitation rights exists among the grandparent and child.
How Grandparents in Georgia can Assert Visitation Rights
There are two ways in Georgia for grandparents to seek visitation rights.
Grandparents are able to file court actions to obtain visitation rights with a grandchild. These legal actions, however, can only be filed once every two years. As previously mentioned, grandparents are prohibited from pursuing these actions if a child lives with both parents who have not separated.
It is also possible for grandparents to join as a legal party in existing actions concerning the custody or visitation rights of grandchildren, the termination of parental rights, or cases involving the adoption of the child by a relative.
Speak with a Family Law Attorney Today
If you are a grandparent who has questions about your role in the lives of your grandchildren, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced lawyer today. At Vayman & Teitelbaum P.C., we have helped numerous grandparents navigate these complicated issues, and we know what it takes to make sure that matters related to your family resolve in the best possible way.