Maintaining Grandparent-Grandchild Relationships
Georgia recognizes the importance of grandparent-grandchild relationships. State laws have been enacted to encourage the grandparent-grandchild bond. At the Atlanta law office of Jody A. Miller, we help grandparents throughout north Georgia obtain the visitation time they need to nurture their relationships with their grandchildren.
Grandparent-grandchild relationships are important. At the law office of Jody A. Miller, we help grandparents petition the court for visitation time and custody of their grandchildren.
When parents are separated or if there is pending divorce or custody litigation between the parents, grandparents may intervene and ask the courts for visitation time with their grandchildren; they can also file an original action for grandparent visitation rights (if there is no current custody litigation pending). However, there are restrictions on grandparents’ rights. If the parents are not separated and the child is living with both parents, the grandparents cannot petition the court for visitation time with their grandchildren.
Determining Grandparent Visitation And Custody
Courts use a two-prong test when deciding whether to award visitation time to grandparents. First, the court must find that grandchildren will be harmed if visitation with their grandparents is not granted. Second, grandparents must show that it is in the best interests of the grandchildren for the court to grant visitation.
Because courts may presume that it is emotionally harmful for grandchildren’s ties with their grandparents to be severed, parents who want to prevent further contact between grandparents and their children might be required to overcome or rebut this presumption.
When determining whether it is in the grandchildren’s best interests to have court-ordered visitation with their grandparents, the court will evaluate a wide variety of factors, including past interactions and the existing grandparent-grandchild relationship as well as any financial support grandparents provide to their grandchildren.
In grandparent custody cases, courts do not presume that a child will be emotionally harmed if a grandparent is not granted custody (as they might in a visitation case). Instead, the burden is on the grandparent to show that the child would be harmed if the parent were to be granted or retain custody and that it is in the child’s best interest for custody to be awarded to the grandparent.
For more than 25 years, experienced family law attorney Jody Miller has helped grandparents preserve their relationships with the grandchildren they love.