Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
(770) 676-1191
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Can grandparents seek visitation rights in Georgia?

When there are big changes in a couple's marriage, the impact can be felt by everyone close to them. However, the impact can be the strongest on the children that a couple shares.

For example, children can be enormously affected by changes like a separation, divorce or parental death. During these times, it can be very natural for other people -- particularly the children's grandparents -- to want to do whatever they can to make sure the children are taken care of. In some cases, this is welcomed but in other cases, grandparents will have to go through the legal system in order to define and protect their rights to visitation.

Grandparents can be denied visitation by parents of minor children; if there is no reason to believe that the minor children are harmed by this restriction, grandparents may not have many legal options to change the situation.

However, there are several situations in which grandparents may be able to petition for visitation rights because it could be in the best interests of the grandchildren. According to Georgia laws, these situations include:

  • Death of the grandchild's parent
  • Divorce of grandchild's parents
  • Termination of custody rights for the grandchild's parent
  • Adoption of grandchild by a stepparent or blood relative
  • Legitimate concerns regarding the welfare of the grandchild

These situations often come with enormous changes and confusion for a minor child and having a grandparent present can give children a sense of support and stability. But this is not always the case.

Like other visitation cases, courts will encourage the appropriate parties to try and work out an agreeable solution through mediation. If no such agreement can be reached, the court will make a decision after a visitation hearing.

What we hope parents and grandparents take away from this post is that grandparents do have the choice to ask for visitation rights from the courts, though such requests are not guaranteed to be granted. Visitation will be granted in cases when the courts deem it beneficial to the grandchildren to have reasonable contact with their grandparents.

This can be a particularly confusing area of family law, and there are typically powerful emotions driving a grandparent's decision to pursue legal visitation rights. Because of all this, it can be crucial to speak with an attorney about the situation and what options are available.

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Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C.
4799 Sugarloaf Pkwy
Building J
Lawrenceville, GA 30044

Phone: 770-676-1191
Fax: 770-963-2828
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