In some families, due to unfortunate situations, a child’s parents are unwilling or unable to care for them. Grandparents often step up to the plate, taking on a dual role of both the parent and grandparent. They are the primary caregivers and providers for their grandchildren, yet may not have established legal rights. This can create issues in seeking medical care or being able to register a child for school. It can become a problem if a parent decides to take the children back, especially if it’s unsafe for the kids. In other situations, the children reside with their parents, but because of unrelated family issues, the parents do not allow their children to see their grandparents. In these cases, a knowledgeable family law attorney can help you protect your rights — and your grandchildren.
As a general matter, biological parents have priority over grandparents and extended family when it comes to custody of children. However, if parents are unwilling or unable to properly care for their children, a court may deem the kids to be “in need of care,” and award temporary custody to a family member. Grandparents may also be able to obtain other orders giving them rights regarding their grandchildren, including:
Courts have broad discretion in determining child custody orders, with the ultimate goal being the best interest of the child. Each case has to be assessed based on its particular facts, such as who has taken care of the child, the safety, and stability of each party, and the child’s emotional and physical well-being. Beyond custody, grandparents and step-grandparents may be able to obtain visitation rights, based on the specific facts of the case.
If you need to establish custody, visitation or another legal right regarding your grandchildren, an experienced family law attorney can help put together a strong argument to convince the court that you should have these rights of custody or access. Grandparents’ rights cases are decided based on each unique situation. Attorney Mark Jeffers can analyze your case, and educate you about the possibility of obtaining a court order for custody or visitation of your grandchildren. He is a caring and compassionate attorney who will help you understand your rights and options. Contact Jeffers Law Office today to learn more about how we can help.