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What Factors Impact Grandparents' Rights?

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Family Law on Thursday, October 20, 2016.

The issue of custody, visitation and the rights of grandparents may be an important concern for many families, grandparents and parents. The laws concerning grandparents' rights vary by state so it is important to be familiar with the laws in your state if grandparents' rights are a concern of yours. Many families, grandparents and parents may wonder what grandparents' rights are and under what circumstances grandparents may have custody or visitation rights. Conditions differ based on custody or visitation requests.

In general, the family law court will look at a number of factors when determining grandparents' rights. The court will first consider the best interests of the child, which is always the primary consideration in child custody circumstances. Common factors the court evaluates when determining what is in the best interests of the child include the needs of the child, including physical and emotional needs; the safety and welfare of the child; the ability of parents or grandparents to meet the needs of the child; the wishes of the parents and grandparents; the wishes of the child, depending on the ability of the child to determine the same; the strength and length of the relationship between the child and grandparents; any evidence of abuse, neglect or substance abuse by either the parents or grandparents; how the child has adjusted to its home, school and community; the ability of the parents and grandparents to provide love and affection to the child; and the distance between the child and parents or grandparents.

Additional circumstances may also impact grandparent's rights. Provided it is in the best interests of the child and it has been demonstrated that the parents are abusive, unfit or incompetent, grandparents' rights, including permanent custody in some situations, may be granted. Grandparent visitation may also be awarded during some divorce periods. There are different family law options to help grandparents with their grandchild custody and visitation concerns including the court process or mediation.

It is important that grandparents seeking child custody or visitation are familiar with the legal process concerning grandparents' rights in their state and the factors that may be considered. The relationship many grandparents share with their grandchildren is important which is why the family law system offers them options and resources to be aware of and understand.

Source: Family.findlaw.com, "Factors Considered for Grandparent Visitation and Custody," Accessed Oct. 18, 2016

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