Let’s face it.
Grandparent’s rights in Georgia are limited.
Meaning you may never see your grandkids.
In this article, we’re covering:
Let’s dig in.
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You’re wondering do grandparents have rights to grandchildren AT ALL?
Grandparents do not have the automatic legal right to see their grandchildren, unlike parents.
This can make grandparents nervous for several reasons.
And leave them asking several questions about grandparent’s right in Georgia:
But do the Georgia custody laws give the grandparents rights to anything?
Georgia law gives the grandparents the right to ask for grandparents’ visitation rights.
To file for visitation, the grandparents can file an original court action for visitation.
You will want to hire a family law attorney.
They will be able to file the court action for visitation for you.
And they will be able to present an argument for you to have grandparent visitation rights.
But there are some limitations to filing for visitation for grandparents.
Grandparents can only file for visitation every two years.
Also, they cannot file for visitation if the parents are still married.
They can only file for visitation is the parents have filed for a divorce in Georgia.
Here are some exceptions for grandparent visitation rights when the parents are married:
Related: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody
Another cause for concern is that a parents’ decision about grandparent visitation will be given deference.
This means that the court will likely respect whatever decision the parents make.
And if the parents are still together and the child is living with them, then the grandparents cannot ask for any kind of visitation.
In order for grandparents to get visitation, there must be:
It can sometimes seem like there are no grandparent rights in GA.
But that isn’t necessarily true.
Georgia law limits who can and can’t ask for custody of children.
Thankfully, grandparents are able to request visitation and custody.
However, the presumption is that kids are better off with their parents.
This presumption can be pretty difficult to rebut, but it’s not impossible!
Related: How To Get Emergency Custody Orders
In short, no there are no guarantees to grandparent rights in Georgia.
Grandparents have zero guaranteed rights, even if your child is the custodial parent.
Grandparents need a court order to have any grandparent rights to the grandchild.
Without one, a grandparent’s visitation rights are non-existent.
And if you have no rights, then your grandchildren’s parents can keep the kids away from you.
Yes, you read that right.
If you don’t have a court order allowing visitation, your grandchildren’s parents can keep them away from you.
This doesn’t mean that grandparents can’t visitation rights to their grandchildren.
As you can see, all you need is a court order allowing for visitation.
Although it sounds simple, it can be a difficult process.
And there are things you need to keep in mind.
Just because you’ve filed a petition for visitation doesn’t automatically grant visitation rights.
You still have to appear in court and explain why you deserve visitation.
And you know what the worst part is?
Sometimes grandparents will spend months and months fighting for visitation only to be denied.
Or maybe you’re granted visitation…
but it’s for one day a month!
There is nothing more frustrating than this.
Imagine fighting tooth and nail to see your grandchildren to only get visitation once a month.
It’s heartbreaking and unfair, to say the least.
So we’ve already discussed that grandparents have zero rights unless there’s a court order in place.
But now let’s talk about how we get that court order.
First, there must already be a pending case before a grandparent can get visitation.
This basically means that the grandparents must intervene in a case instead of starting their own.
The type of case is usually one of the following:
This is because the courts give a lot of deference to parents on how to raise their children.
Sometimes that means not allowing the children to see their grandparents.
Next, the court must decide whether to grant the grandparents visitation.
This sometimes shocks people.
But asking for visitation doesn’t guarantee you’ll get it.
The grandparents will have to show that the child’s health or welfare will suffer if they are denied visitation.
This is not an easy standard to prove.
In fact, grandparents have to show one of the following to receive visitation:
The courts can be reluctant to give grandparents visitation rights.
But that does not make it impossible.
The most important thing is to give concrete evidence that shows it’s in the best interest of the child for you to see them.
When the courts are considering grandparents rights, the look at the best interests of the child.
The factors that courts take into account for grandparents rights are:
Let’s assume that:
If you believe that you are able to receive grandparents’ rights to the child, what’s next?
You will want to file for grandparents rights in Georgia.
Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child
Whether you believe you need custody or visitation, this is what you do.
The only legal rights grandparents have in regards to their grandchildren is the right to ask for visitation.
This is a right that not many people are given.
The right to ask for visitation is reserved to only:
However, this doesn’t mean that grandparents have the right to visitation.
It’s important to be mindful of this distinction.
Grandparents just have the legal right to ask the court for visitation.
But can a grandparent lose visitation rights after getting them?
Yes, your visitation rights can be revoked.
That is if the parent can show good cause for such a change.
This can sometimes be a difficult standard to prove.
But be mindful that courts tend to give the parent’s wishes a lot of weight.
Their request to modify or revoke a grandparent’s visitation won’t be taken lightly.
But parents don’t have the final say.
Your legal rights to visitation do not depend on what they think is in the best interest of the child.
That final decision making power rests with the judge.
The judge is the only one you have to convince that the kids are better off with their grandparents in their lives.
Grandparental alienation is very similar to parental alienation.
This is when either parent of your grandchildren manipulates your grandchildren into ending their relationship with you.
This might look different to every family, but some examples are:
There isn’t a lot you can do to fight against grandparent alienation without visitation rights.
This is because parents have every right to raise their children as they see fit.
That means they have the full capability of alienating family members.
If you do have visitation rights, you should exercise your right to see your grandchildren.
This is true even if they say they don’t want to spend time with you.
The best way to repair their relationship is by spending as much time as possible with them.
Mending the relationship can be difficult, but if you give up isn’t an option.
If you were granted visitation, this means that the court obviously thought you were a necessary part of this child’s life.
Do not take that for granted.
Fill out the form below for a free consultation with our family law attorneys.
Our family lawyers are experienced in getting grandparents rights in Georgia.
We can help you get grandparents’ rights, which means that:
Every grandparent deserves to be in their grandchildren’s lives.
You deserve that too.
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