How is a grandparent defined under Georgia law?

A grandparent can be the parent of a parent of a minor child, the parent of a child’s parent who has died, or the parent of a minor child’s parent whose parental rights have been terminated. A biological father’s parents are also grandparents, even if the father has not legitimated the child.

How can grandparents win a visitation case?

You will have to show both of the following:

  1. The child’s health or welfare would be harmed if the child could not visit the grandparents. “Harm” occurs most often when before visitation is stopped:
    • The child lived with the grandparent for more than six months
    • The grandparents provided financial support for the child’s basic needs for a minimum of a year
    • There was frequent and regular visitation between the child and grandparent
  2. Visitation would be in the child’s best interests.

A court can also decide to grant visitation if it feels that being denied access to the grandparents could damage the child emotionally.

 Common questions about Grandparents’ Rights

  • Will a grandparents’ visitation be restricted in any way? Only in that it can’t interfere with a child’s school or regular extracurricular activities. But the visitation does have to include 24 hours per month.
  • Can a grandparent attend a child’s important events? Even if visitation is not granted, the court can order that the grandparents be notified of the child’s public performances like graduations or sporting events.
  • Can a parent block a grandparent’s visitation? After visitation has been granted to a grandparent, the parent can petition the court every two years to amend or revoke the visitation, but they cannot block it outright.
  • Can a grandparent be involved in an adoption? Yes, but only if there are no legal parents alive at the time.
  • Can a grandparent be granted custody of a child against the parents’ will? It is rare but it can happen, especially in cases of drug use, neglect or physical abuse. Georgia law contemplates and provides a process for such intervention in certain circumstances. When Georgia courts consider granting child custody to grandparents or other relatives, the main consideration is the best interests of the child. Until proven otherwise, the court presumes that it is in the children’s best interests to stay with their parents.
  • Do I need to hire an attorney? If you have to get custody of your grandchildren, especially if it is against their parents’ will, you definitely need help from an experienced family law attorney. You need someone who can present the facts in a persuasive way and make sure the pertinent issues are brought to light. The attorneys at Waggoner Hastings LLC have assisted many grandparents, relatives, and close family friends in bringing appropriate actions in Juvenile, Probate, or Superior Court.