As family dynamics have changed over the past few decades, we see more and more cases in which people who AREN’T a child’s biological parents are seeking custody. In the state of Georgia, grandparents do have the right to seek visitation or even primary physical custody of their minor grandchildren – under a specific set of circumstances.
You can establish custody and visitation rights to your grandchild under the Equitable Caregiver Statute if you can prove it is in the best interest of the child and will not interfere with the relationship between the child and parent. Children need stability and love to grow up happy and healthy, and you should be able to prove that the child is doing their best when they have a relationship with you.
In order to establish an equitable caregiver relationship with a child, you need to be able to demonstrate five things under Georgia law:
1. You have “undertaken a permanent, unequivocal, committed, and responsible parental role in the child’s life;”
2. You have “engaged in consistent caretaking of the child;”
3. You have “established a bonded and dependent relationship with the child, the relationship was fostered or supported by a parent of the child, and such individual and the parent have understood, acknowledged, or accepted or behaved as though such individual is a parent of the child;”
4. “You have “accepted full and permanent responsibilities as a parent of the child without expectation of financial compensation;” and
5. You have “demonstrated that the child will suffer physical harm or long-term emotional harm and that continuing the relationship […] is in the best interest of the child.”
Simply put, you CAN establish custodial or visitation rights to your grandchildren, but you’ll need an experienced and strategic family lawyer to fight for them. If you or someone you know needs assistance gaining custody or visitation rights to your grandchild, give us a call at 770-425-5573. To learn more about grandparents’ rights, watch our video here.
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