Child custody issues come up all the time. Whether between divorced parents, adoptive and biological parents, or parents and grandparents, the fight over a child can be heated. However, in each case, the best interest of the child should be determinative in the dispute. In many instances, when unfit parents are neglecting their children, grandparents may be best suited to satisfy the child’s needs.
According to some, so called grandfamilies are becoming more common. These families come into existence when a parent is unable to care for the child and grandparents are awarded custody of their grandchildren. Sometimes, grandparents obtain custody when the child’s parents are deemed unfit by social services. Other times, grandparents can seek custody rights when they have been raising the child and the parents have not been in the child’s life very much. Either way, a court determination must be made stating that placement of the child in the grandparent’s home is in the child’s best interest.
Grandparents’ rights are not limited to custody. When spouses divorce, grandparents may seek to have rights of visitation with their grandchild. Though visitation may not be as frequent as the petitioners would like, a successful petition can nevertheless help grandparents retain a vital role in their grandchild’s life.
In order to obtain custody or visitation of a grandchild, the grandparents must show the contribution they make to the child’s life. These contributions can take many forms, including monetary support, emotional support, and stability. The greater the contribution, the more likely a court will find that grandparent custody or visitation will be in the child’s best interest. An experienced family law attorney can help grandparents contemplate their contributions to a grandchild’s life and help them fight to remain a part of the child’s life.
Source: Middlesboro Daily News, “Grandfamilies are becoming more common,” Reina P. Cunningham, Jun. 27, 2013