The old adage "it takes a village to raise a child" was not born in a vacuum. Grandparents, just like aunts, uncles and godparents, can play a vital role in a child's life. However, some grandparents may not be able to spend as much time as they like with their grandchildren.
The reasons can vary, but they often involve an emotionally charged dispute. A grandchild could be chronically "unavailable" because the parent is not receiving financial help. A parent could be upset over a grandparent's disapproval of other life choices. The list goes on and on. Regardless of the reasons, grandparents have a legal right to spend time with their grandchildren.
However, this right is not automatically conferred like the relationship between a parent and child, even when grandparents are raising their grandchild(ren) because the parent(s) are unable.
Obtaining visitation time (or custody) for a third party is not guaranteed as laws vary from state to state. Eligible grandparents must petition the court for parenting time in the same fashion many unmarried fathers must. They must prove to the Court that his or her custody of and/or visitation with a child is in the best interest of the child.
More often than not, applications are strongly opposed. In these instances, an experienced family law attorney can review your case and advise you of your rights and options.
The preceding is provided for informational purposes only. For further legal assistance, please contact our office and speak with an attorney.