Can Grandparents Visit Grandchildren after the Parents Divorce?
Grandparents often have a very special bond with their grandchildren. Many grandparents fear losing the opportunity to continue fostering this bond in the event that their grandchildren’s parents divorce. While grandparents in Georgia don’t have automatic rights to visitation with their grandchildren, they do have the right to ask the court to grant them visitation. If you are concerned about losing visitation with your grandchildren, seek the professional legal counsel of an experienced Georgia divorce attorney today.
The Court’s Decision
The court is very likely to rule in favor of grandparent visitation if one of the following applies:
- Denying the visitation would be detrimental to the children’s health and/or welfare.
- Visitation is in the best interests of the children
Making this determination, however, can obviously be complicated.
The Factors Considered
The court takes wide-ranging factors into consideration in this best-interests determination, and the following can tip the balance in favor of grandparent visitation:
- If the minor children have ever resided with their grandparents for at least six months
- If the grandparents provided financial support for their grandchildren’s basic needs for at least one full year
- if the grandparents have established a regular pattern of visitation and/or childcare with their grandchildren
- If there is any relevant factor that indicates the failure to grant reasonable grandparent visitation would lead to emotional or physical harm to the children
The Parents Are Allowed to Weigh In
The parent (or legal guardian) of the children in question has the legal right to request that the court revoke or amend a grandparent’s scheduled visitation. The parent, however, must have a compelling reason for requesting the change and is only allowed this opportunity once every two years. While the courts take parents’ opinions and preferences regarding grandparent visitation into careful consideration, parents in the State of Georgia do not have the final say on the matter.
Grandparent Visitation: The Process
The process for seeking grandparent visitation can include all of the following steps:
- The court may appoint an independent legal advocate or spokesperson – known as a guardian ad litem – for the children involved.
- The involved parties may attempt to hammer out mutually acceptable grandparent visitation terms via mediation.
- If mediation is unsuccessful or doesn’t play a role in the case at hand, it will proceed to a court hearing in which the grandparents’ visitation request will be decided.
Discuss Your Grandparent Visitation Concerns with an Experienced Georgia Divorce Attorney Today
If you are a grandparent who is seeking visitation rights with your grandchildren, there is a lot at stake, and the compassionate Forsyth County and Cumming divorce attorneys at Banks, Stubbs & McFarland not only understand the gravity of your situation but are also committed to skillfully advocating for your rights as a grandparent. Our savvy legal team is on your side, so please don’t wait to contact us online or call us at 770-887-1209 for more information about how we can help you today.