Are you trying to figure out how to get custody back from a grandparent?
This article lays out an easy, 5-step process to get custody back from a grandparent.
It also tells you how to prepare your life so the judge is more likely to grant you custody.
So, if you want to learn the ins and outs of how to get custody back from a grandparent, keep reading.
Table of Contents
- How To Get Custody Back From A Grandparent
- Getting Custody Back From A Grandparent Who Is Amicable
- How To Fight Against Grandparent Custody
- Grandparent Rights You Will Have To Battle
- Reasons Grandparents Can File For Custody Of Grandchild
- How to Get Custody Back From A Grandparent [The Easiest Way]
How To Get Custody Back From A Grandparent
There are 5 basic steps to take for how to get custody back from a grandparent.
1. Hire a Family Law Attorney
You’re going to want to hire a family law attorney.
Preferably one who has experience fighting against grandparents’ rights.
Trying to get custody back from a grandparent without an attorney probably won’t work.
It definitely won’t work if the grandparents hire an attorney to represent them.
Fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.
Our attorneys have reliable experience in getting custody back from grandparents that you can tap into.
They know the ins and outs of child custody laws that can prove you deserve to get custody back.
Your family law attorney will file the petition for child custody modification for you.
This will get the ball rolling for you to get custody back from a grandparent.
After they file the petition, they will schedule a court hearing.
At this court hearing, you and your attorney will present your case for getting custody back from the grandparents.
What should you do while you’re waiting on the court hearing?
Work with your family law attorney to:
- complete custody contingencies you may have
- request a child custody evaluation
2. Complete Contingencies For Custody
A lot of judges think ahead.
They know that people will be trying to figure out how to get custody back from a grandparent at some point.
Most likely, you lost custody to a grandparent for a reason.
You’ll want to make sure that getting custody back from a grandparent is not contingent on something.
For example, let’s say you lost custody to a grandparent for drug addiction.
A judge will want you to complete a drug rehab program.
And getting custody back will be contingent upon you completing that rehab program.
So, make sure that if there are any contingencies that you have completed them.
3. Request A Child Custody Evaluation
Work with your family law attorney to make sure that you are ready for court.
This means that your life is structured in the best interests of the child.
This includes, but is not limited to, things like:
- you live in their school district so they won’t have to move schools
- you can take them to their extracurricular activities (this may mean you can’t work nights and weekends)
- you can reliably provide their needs (food, shelter, clothing, etc.)
Once you and your attorney have made sure you meet the best interests of the child, ask for a custody evaluation.
A child custody evaluation is when a court-appointed third party evaluates you.
This third party person is usually a mental health expert.
After the evaluation, they will make a recommendation to the court.
The purpose of the evaluation is to make sure that the child’s needs are being met.
In the child custody evaluation process, they will:
- interview the parents
- interview the children
- interview the grandparents
- observe the parents and grandparents interacting with the children
- interview other close relatives and friends
- perform psychological testing
- review previous court records of the parents and grandparents
After the evaluation, they will make a recommendation to the judge.
Passing the evaluation is very important when working on getting custody back from a grandparent.
4. Follow the Court Orders
Showing up is the most important thing you can do to show the judge you’re reliable.
- do not reschedule any court hearings
- do not reschedule any visitations if you have any
- show up to mediation and be amicable
Again, don’t miss hearings and visitation.
When you do you are telling the judge that getting custody back from a grandparent is not important to you.
Show them that this is your #1 priority if you want to get custody back from a grandparent.
5. Spend Time With Your Kids
You may not hear back from the courts immediately.
This means you could have a few weeks or a few months before you end up getting custody back from a grandparent.
In the meantime, you want to spend time with your kids (if you have any visitation rights).
While waiting on the custody arrangement to be evaluated, exercise your full right for visitation and parenting time.
If you start missing parenting time and visitation, this could be reported to the judge.
Grandparents who want custody are going to do whatever they can to keep custody.
Don’t give them any ammunition that they can use against you.
Also, don’t do anything to aggravate the situation.
You want to make sure that you get along with everyone.
Any reports of domestic violence or civil disputes could cause you to lose your chances of getting custody back from a grandparent.
Make sure you are polite and courteous when picking your children up for visitation.
Related: Reasons a Judge Will Change Custody
Getting Custody Back From A Grandparent Who Is Amicable
Not everyone who is figuring out how to get custody back from a grandparent has to go through a custody battle.
Some parents still have good relationships with the grandparents of their child.
Maybe the grandparents wanted to help the parent in a time of need.
Whatever the reason, if you are not going through a custody battle, it makes getting custody back from a grandparent much easier.
You may not even need to have child custody lawyers involved.
This is especially true if the grandparents are not disputing you getting custody back.
But it might be a good idea for you AND the grandparents to sit down with a family law attorney together.
They can provide you with the proper paperwork to file a petition for custody modification.
They can also help you get your story straight for the judge.
This is because you will still have to show up in front of a judge.
The judge still has to see if you getting custody back from a grandparent is in the best interest of the child.
So, here are the exact steps to take for getting custody back from a grandparent without a lawyer.
- fill out a petition for child custody modification
- submit the petition at your local Superior Court
- serve the grandparents with the petition (even if they know about it – it’s the law)
- schedule a court hearing after you have proof of service
- present your reasons for why you are trying to get custody back from the grandparents
- wait for the new custody orders to get issued
And that’s it.
That’s how to get custody back from a grandparent when you and they are on the same page about you taking custody back.
How To Fight Against Grandparent Custody
You’re trying to figure out how to get custody back from a grandparent.
So, how do you fight grandparent custody?
Is it easy to get custody back from a grandparent?
Is it super hard to get custody back?
It really depends on the reason that you lost custody in the first place.
The main reasons a parent will lose custody of a child are:
- the parent is neglecting the child
- the parent is abusing the child
- there is domestic violence in the home
- the parent is violating court orders
- the parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol
- the parents are unfit to care for the child
It’s nearly impossible to get custody back from a grandparent if you lost custody due to:
- neglecting the child
- abusing the child
- domestic violence
Judges look at these as traits of a person.
If you have done these in the past and lost custody due to it, few judges will give you custody back.
But you still have a chance to prove that you are a better person and get custody back from a grandparent if you lost custody for:
- violating court orders
- addiction to drugs
- addiction to alcohol
- being unfit to raise the child
These are more situational issues versus behavioral issues.
You can resolve the situation that caused you to lose custody.
This gives you a decent chance at getting custody back from a grandparent.
If you need help fighting grandparent custody, fill out the form on this page.
We can walk you through the steps to take to prove that you deserve to get custody back from a grandparent.
Grandparent Rights You Will Have To Battle
Without a court order, grandparents’ rights are non-existent.
They do not have custody rights or visitation rights without a court order.
But if you are getting custody back from a grandparent, the judge may issue court orders giving them rights.
For a grandparent to get visitation rights, they have to file a petition for visitation.
The grandparents will have to go to court and prove why they deserve visitation.
For most grandparents, it’s very difficult to get any grandparent’s rights to the child.
But they will have a stronger case to have grandparents’ rights if they previously had custody.
Related: Grounds for Full Custody of Child
Reasons Grandparents Can File For Custody Of Grandchild
You’re working on how to get custody back from a grandparent.
So, let’s talk about reasons a grandparent can file for custody of a child.
I know you may already know this if you have lost custody to a grandparent.
But it’s important to know the reasons a grandparent can file for custody of a child.
This will help you wrap your head around what you’re up against during your custody battle.
There are two categories for reasons a grandparent can file for custody of a child.
Those two categories are:
- when both parents are alive
- when both parents are dead
Reasons A Grandparent Can File For Custody When The Parents Are Alive
When the parents are both alive, it’s much harder for a grandparent to get custody of a child.
But grandparents can get custody when both parents are unable or unwilling to care for the child.
Some reasons a grandparent can file for custody of a child are:
- the parents have been deemed unfit by a judge
- the parents consent to transfer custody to the grandparents
- the parents are abusing each other or the child
- the parents are neglecting the child
- there is drug or alcohol abuse in the home
- the parents have mental illnesses
- one parent is unfit and the other does not want the child
- the parents have major disabilities that keep them from being able to care for the child
Even if the parents fall into one of these categories, it’s still difficult to get custody.
You’re up against other relatives.
Reasons A Grandparent Can File For Custody When The Parents Are Dead
Usually, when a custodial parent dies, the courts will give the other parent full custody.
This is true even if the other parent has not been active in that child’s life.
The second choice is a close relative.
This does not mean that the grandparents will get custody.
It could mean that a sibling or cousin gets custody of the child.
It depends on:
- who was the most involved in the child’s life
- who is most able to take care of the child
- who is in the child’s best interests
Reasons that a grandparent can file for custody when the parents pass are:
- the parent and child were already living with the grandparents
- the parents left a will naming the grandparent the guardian
- the child wants to live with their grandparents
Even if any of these are true, you’re not off the hook yet.
The courts will take into consideration a grandparent’s:
They look at these and assess how well you can care for your grandchild.
How to Get Custody Back From A Grandparent [The Easiest Way]
The easiest way to get custody back from a grandparent is to hire an experienced family lawyer.
They can do the heavy lifting.
Which means you’re more likely to get custody back.
They know the ins and outs of custody laws.
Which means that they know what cases to use to prove that you deserve to get custody back.
If you want to get custody back from a grandparent, fill out the form below.
We will set up a free consultation to see if we are a good fit.