Grandparents may seek custody rights instead of the child’s parents. Here’s what to know about grandparent custody rights in Georgia.

Georgia courts may grant grandparent custody rights of their grandchildren if they prove doing so is in the child’s best interest. The grandparents must prove the parent is unfit to have child custody. The court will determine the custody order depending on the grandparent’s proof and the child’s needs.

Related: How to Get Temporary Custody in Georgia

Grandparents’ Rights in Georgia

Since 2020, Georgia law has primarily placed children in the custody of either parent. However, a grandparent can challenge the law to gain custody of their grandchildren.

In Georgia, judges favor granting a parent custody rights of the child over grandparents. If a grandparent seeks child custody of their grandchild, they must provide evidence to the court that their custody is in the child’s best interest. Furthermore, the grandparents must prove why the child’s parent should not have child custody.

The court will consider the following factors when determining grandparent custody rights:

  • [Each] grandparent’s age and health conditions
  • The child’s age
  • The residence(s)
  • The grandparent’s relationship with the child
  • The grandparent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs

How Grandparents Get Custody Rights

In Georgia, a grandparent seeking child custody can file a petition for custody to the local court. The petition for custody must include proof that grandparent custody will promote the child’s health and happiness. In the petition, a grandparent must prove parent custody may cause physical or emotional harm to the child. A grandparent cannot argue that parent custody may create social or financial issues.

A grandparent can file a dependency petition if they seek temporary custody. Courts can accept dependency petitions proving the parent is currently unfit to take care of a child. Grandparents filing dependency petitions must prove the parent abuses or neglects the child. The court can grant temporary grandparent custody if the grandparent files a dependency petition. The parent may regain custody of the child if they undergo treatment or services to make them fit for child custody. If the parent agrees to grandparent custody, the grandparent can file for temporary custody in local probate court.

Grandparents seeking child custody should hire a lawyer to help them prove a custody change in their favor is also in the child’s best interest. A lawyer can guide the grandparent toward the best course of action to take in gaining custody of their grandchild.

Related: Georgia Child Custody FAQs

Grandparents Visitation Rights

Grandparents can file a petition form to request visitation rights to their grandchildren if the child’s parents separate or divorce. Grandparents seeking visitation rights must prove the child may face harm if they do not see them.

The court will consider the following factors when determining a grandparent’s visitation:

  • If the child lived with the grandparent for at least six months
  • If the grandparent financially supported the child for at least one year
  • The grandparent regularly provides childcare for the grandchild

A Georgia judge will grant the grandparent visitation rights in the child’s best interest. The court will review authorized grandparent visitation rights every two years.

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If you or a loved one would like to know more about grandparent custody rights in Georgia, get your free consultation with one of our family law attorneys today!