Tips for Grandparents Seeking Custody of Grandchildren
It is not uncommon for custody to be awarded to the grandparents of a grandchild. Indeed, the American Grandparents Association has released various stories about grandparents obtaining rights for grandchildren, and the American Association of Retired Persons has even released a guide for retired persons raising grandchildren. Not to mention, nearly every state has laws that permit a court to award custody of minor children to a grandparent or other third party with a significant relationship to the child. The laws that require grandparents to seek custody frequently allow grandparents to seek custody of a grandchildren by requiring the grandparents to both overcome a presumption that a legal parent acts in the best interest of the children and show that it is likely the children will suffer a detriment if custody is awarded to the biological parent. Needless to say, grandparent custody cases are often very difficult and grandparents who wish to seek custody of grandchildren should consult with a lawyer who is familiar with third party custody cases. This article will discuss some essential advice that grandparents should follow when seeking custody of grandchildren.
- Appreciate Who Your Opponents Are. Grandchildren are likely to have two parents. Grandparents should analyze whether under the applicable law grandparents are likely to obtain custody from the biological parents. If both parents appear against the case, a grandparent should understand the grandparent will likely be tasked with the difficulty of proving custody against both biological parents.
- Be Aware Of When It Is Time To Get Involved. If your biological child is in the middle of a custody struggle, grandparents should consider supporting a parent’s ability to obtain custody rather the grandparent’s right to obtain custody.
- Do Not Hesitate To Use Your Strategic Advantages. Grandparents should be ready to take advantage of any situation where the biological parents are unable to safely care for children. Taking advantage of these situations will decrease the parent’s abilities to prevail in a potential custody case and ensure that grandchildren will not have to face the stress of future difficulties.
- Hesitate Before Contacting the Authorities. Make sure that grandchildren are in actual danger of abuse or neglect before reporting the condition to state officials. Realize that state officials will follow through on any reports and make notes if a grandparent attempts to falsely report a situation in order to gain a strategic advantage.
- Obtain Visitation Rights. Most states have laws that allow grandparents to obtain visitation with grandchildren if the grandparents’ relationship is similar to a parent-child relationship or if there is a significant ongoing relationship. As an alternative to custody, consider obtaining visitation rights. Before obtaining custody rights, grandparents should evaluate their role, both biological parents’ role in the grandchild’s life, the role of the grandchild’s extended family, the extent to which the grandparent has assumed parental duties, and concerns regarding the biological parents’ fitness.
- Support Your Grandchild’s Relationship With Parents. In cases where only one biological parent is fit to obtain custody, your chances of prevailing in a custody action are still low. Remember that your grandchild’s relationship with biological parents is important for the grandchild’s growth and development.
The more information that grandparents have about a child’s situation in addition to the grandparents’ ability to demonstrate that a child’s biological parents are unfit to hold custody, the better their ability to obtain custody of grandchildren. Grandparents in search of custody rights of grandchildren should not hesitate to contact a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer at Lindamood & Robinson, P.C. in Houston today.