Grandparents’ rights in Georgia visitation and custody matters

There are many grandparents who play a very active role in the lives of their grandchildren. In some situations, the parents may be unable to care for the child, and ask the grandparents to step in while they address their issues. If the couple decides to end their relationship, or perhaps one of the parents dies or is incarcerated, this could make it very difficult for the grandparent to be able to still spend time with their grandchildren.

Georgia recently passed a law that addresses grandparents' rights, and makes it easier for these individuals to be able to request time with the children. Under the law, grandparents are allowed to file an original action or intervene in custody or visitation actions that are pending before the court. This means that they are allowed to request visitation time with the child when the couple is going through their custody and visitation proceedings. The grandparents are not allowed to bring an action for visitation when the couple is still together.

In order to receive visitation, the court will analyze the request to determine if it is in the best interests of the children. Some of the issues the court will consider include:

  • If the child lived with the grandparent for six or more months
  • If the grandparent provided financial support for one year or longer
  • If the grandparent had regular visitation with the child
  • If the child would be harmed if visitation is not granted

The court has the discretion upon whether or not to approve visitation. There are strict limits on the amount of times that grandparents can bring these actions, so it is important that these individuals understand what they need to do in order to be successful with their requests.

If you have a question about grandparents' rights, you should speak to an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible to determine which options may be available in your situation. An attorney will be able to learn the facts of your case, and then help you determine how you wish to proceed.

These cases can be very difficult. Parents may be very reluctant to give up any time with their children. The bad feelings that arise at the end of the relationship could mean that one of the parents does not want the grandparents involved in the life of the children. You need to be sure that you are working with someone that has handled these kinds of cases, and knows how to address the issues and concerns that are often present in these matters.