Georgia law has been evolving rapidly in regards to whether, how and under what circumstances the courts will allow grandparent visitation. The state of Georgia does not automatically award visitation with grandchildren, so if the parents choose not to include you in on visitation, you must first petition the court, seeking the right to legally continue an established relationship with a minor child. What rights do you have as a grandparent? How do you assert your rights as a grandparent? The Law Offices of Martin M. del Mazo will guide you through the legal process and help you secure your rights in the best interest of your grandchild.
Do grandparents have the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren in Georgia?
Yes. Georgia law gives grandparents the right to ask the court for visitation rights with their grandchildren. A Georgia grandparent can exercise this right either by filing an action in court or by intervening in an existing action to determine custody or visitation rights, termination of parental rights, divorce, or adoption, if the child has been adopted by a step-parent or blood relative. Grandparents may file their own visitation case only once every two years. Grandparents can t seek visitation with a grandchild who lives with both parents, if the parents have not separated.
What is the standard for granting or denying a grandparent s visitation request?
The court will grant a grandparent s request for reasonable visitation if it finds:
- the child s health or welfare would be harmed if the court denied the request, and
- the visitation is in the child s best interests.
Once visitation rights are granted, can they be taken away?
Georgia law gives the child s parent or legal guardian the right to ask the court to revoke or amend a grandparent s visitation. The parent must show good cause for the change. A parent may make this request only once every two years.
How does the court process work for grandparent visitation?
After a grandparent files a petition for visitation rights, the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the child and send the parties to mediation, if the court finds that the grandparent can bear the cost. Often, parties who are sent to mediation can come up with their own visitation arrangements. If not, or if no mediation is held, the court will hold a hearing to decide on the visitation request.
Can I seek custody of my grandchild?
Yes, but it can be very hard to win. In a custody proceeding between the parents and a grandparent, the court will determine custody based on the best interest of the child standard. The court will begin with a presumption that parental custody is in the child s best interests, but a grandparent can rebut this presumption with evidence that awarding custody to the grandparent would be in the child s best interests and would best promote the child s welfare and happiness.
Law Office of Martin M. del Mazo
Atlanta Divorce Attorney
750 Hammond Drive
Building 12, Ste. 200
Atlanta, Georgia 30328