Law permits on certain conditions the child custody to the grandparents. Being the father and the mother is a natural guardian, the custody of the child remains with them. Grandparents were granted child custody in certain circumstances and conditions.

Most Common Reasons Grandparents Can File for Custody of Grandchild

Parental rights are strongly protected under the law. As a result, a grandparent is usually eligible to get custody only when the parents choose to transfer it or when the parents are unable to raise the child.

Here are some of the most common reasons grandparents can file for custody of grandchild.

Death of the Parent(s)

If a parent dies, the surviving parent, if willing and able to do so, typically becomes the parent with custody. In the event that one or both parents are deceased, grandparents may be eligible to file for custody.

The grandparents will be named guardians by the probate court if the parent or parents left a will designating them as the guardians in the case of death and the grandparents are able to care for the child. If the parent(s) did not name a guardian before passing away, then grandparents can petition for custody—but so can other close family members who may be interested in raising the children. If there is a dispute over who should be awarded custody, the court will make a decision that is in the best interests of the child.

Consent of the Parent(s)

Sometimes, parents may wish to give their grandparents temporary or permanent custody of their kid. If this serves the child’s best interests, the courts will sanction it.

If a parent is unable to care for their children and does not anticipate that situation changing, they may transfer custody permanently. In order to revoke parental rights, both parents must consent if they are both still alive and well. The only parent who can make this decision is if only one parent is living or known. Alternatively, parents may sometimes want to temporarily transfer custody. This could occur, for example, if they are serving in the military or are to be incarcerated and unable to care for their children for a period of time. This does not involve a termination of parental rights but is a temporary transfer of legal authority over the child.

Alternatives to Applying for Custody of a Grandchild

However, grandparents do have options to request court-ordered visitation—although, even visitation is not a guarantee.

State laws vary as to when grandparents may petition for visits, but typically it is possible in the following situations:

1.The child’s parents are separated or divorced or a petition for divorce has been filed

2.One or both of the child’s parents are deceased

3.One or both of the parents have lost custody of the child

4.The child lived with the grandparents for a year or more

In most states, grandparents cannot petition for visiting rights if both parents reside together as a “intact family.” Whether or not seeing grandparents is best for the child is a decision that belongs to the parents.

If a grandparent is eligible to apply for visitation, they must still prove that the grandchild’s attendance is in the child’s best interests.

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