Georgia family courts make child custody decisions based on their determination of the best interests of the child. They presume that a child’s best interests lie in having healthy relationships with both parents. They also recognize that both parents have rights in regard to their children’s upbringing, and rights to visit them.
Some especially complicated cases involve grandparents who argue that they have a right to custody of their grandchildren. Likewise, there are cases where a sibling or other third party wishes to argue for the right to custody or visitation with the child.
Grandparents’ rights cases often come up in unhappy cases where grandparents allege that one or both of the child’s parents are preventing them from seeing their grandchildren. Georgia law recognizes that grandparents do have some rights with regard to their grandchildren, but these rights must be balanced against the other interests involved.
Courts recognize that parents’ rights are greater than grandparents’ rights, and they are reluctant to go against a parent’s wishes if the parent does not want the child to see the grandparents. So long as one or both parents is competent and fit to raise a child, the court will likely award custody to one or both parents.
However, a court may order a parent to allow grandparental visitation in some cases where it determines that this arrangement would be in the best interests of the child. Typically, a court will make its decision based on balancing factors such as the child’s relationship with the grandparent, the effect the visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the legal guardian, and any history of abuse by the grandparent.
This cases are highly sensitive to the individuals and the facts involved. An experienced family law attorney can help parents, grandparents and others understand their rights and options.