Atlanta Grandparent & Third-Party Rights Attorneys
Fighting for Your Rights Under Georgia Law
Under Georgia law, grandparents and third parties have the right to petition the courts for visitation or even custody of a child in certain circumstances. It is public policy to acknowledge that minor children generally should have continuing contact with grandparents who enhance the lives of their grandchildren through nurturing relationships.
Georgia also recognizes the advent of non-traditional families in our changing society wherein a child’s primary caregiver could be someone other than the biological parent.
However, in all cases regarding child custody and visitation, the courts strongly adhere to the overarching rule of serving a child’s best interests and giving presumptive power to parental custody except where it can be shown that a parent is unfit.
Grandparents' Rights Lawyers in Georgia
If you need legal help understanding and pursuing your legal rights as a grandparent, other relative, or even an unrelated third party in relationship to a child, you should turn to KF Law, LLC.
Our firm is well versed in the laws governing these matters and has resolved many disputes and cases pertaining to them. With many combined decades of family law experience to apply to your case, we bring an abundance of knowledge and skills to the table. We will work hard in our pursuit of a favorable outcome.
Grandparent Rights in Georgia
The state of Georgia recognizes that grandparents often play an important part in their grandchildren’s lives. When that relationship is halted due to some change in the child’s circumstances, it can have a negative effect on the child. Thus, In Georgia, grandparents can seek both custody and visitation rights for a grandchild.
Please note that the state does not allow this when a child lives with both parents and the family remains intact.
When Can You Seek Grandparent Rights?
Seeking grandparent rights in Georgia commonly comes about as a result of:
- A parent of the grandchild has passed away
- The parents of the grandchild have separated or divorced
- The grandchild has been living with and being cared for by the grandparent(s)
Unfit Parents and Grandparents' Rights
A grandchild may end up being cared for by grandparents when a parent is unable to care for the child due to:
- Substance abuse
- Mental illness
- Physical illness or injury
- Domestic violence
- Military duty
In such cases, the grandparent has essentially become the primary caregiver of the child and has a right to seek custody.
Other family members may also seek custody of a child, such as:
- Great grandparents
- Great aunts
- Great uncles
- Adoptive parents
It must be shown to the court in these cases that awarding custody to grandparents or other family members serves the best interests of the child.
Visitation Rights of Grandparents and Other Family
Visitation rights may be sought when:
- Death, divorce, or separation of the parents has occurred; or
- Parental rights have been terminated and the grandparent is being denied access to the child.
The state also allows other family members to seek reasonable visitation rights in such a situation if it can be shown that the child’s welfare would suffer if visitation were not permitted and that visitation is in the child’s best interests. This can be a difficult burden of proof to demonstrate, which is why you should rely on an experienced attorney.
How Do I File for Grandparents' Rights in Georgia?
If there is no existing petition (such as a divorce petition), the grandparent may file their own petition for custody or visitation. Then, the grandparent will need to serve these papers to the parent, or other relevant party.
When there is another case underway, the grandparent will most likely be required to step into that existing case. This is where it can get complicated, as the parties in that case likely have professional legal representation. To give yourself the best chance in court, reach out to a grandparents' rights attorney.
At KF Law, LLC, we help our clients at every single step of the way. We can start with a consultation to help you explore your options and understand your rights. After that, we can assist you in filing the correct petition or getting involved in an existing case. With us, it's easy to exercise your rights!
Georgia’s Equitable Caregivers Act
Under Georgia’s Equitable Caregivers Act, unrelated third parties can petition the court for parental rights to a child. The law allows the court to grant legal status as an “equitable caregiver” to a person who has acted as the child’s parent and provided for the child but who is not the child’s biological or legal parent. These are individuals who have established a strong and loving relationship with the child, such as a stepparent or other unrelated adult.
Courts will look at various factors to determine if this legal status should be granted, such as:
- Whether any type of agreement has been made between the parent and the third party concerning the child’s relationship with the third party
- How completely a parental role the third party has taken in the child’s life
- How consistently the third party has cared for the child
Individuals seeking an equitable caregiver status must demonstrate to the court that the child’s well-being would be harmed if the relationship is terminated. They must also prove that it is in the child’s best interests to continue it.
Being granted legal status as an equitable caregiver does not terminate the parental rights of the biological parent(s). Rather, it establishes the equitable caregiver as a third parent. The issues of custody, support, and visitation will still need to be determined and arranged through the court.
Why You Need Representation from KF Law, LLC
Establishing your legal rights to a child as a grandparent, other family member, or as a third party requires clear and convincing evidence in support of your petition. We can help!
Our Atlanta third-party and grandparents' rights lawyers are highly experienced in this area of the law, as well as with how the local courts operate regarding them. We advise that you discuss the specifics of your situation with one of our attorneys to get the understanding, representation, and case preparation you need.
Contact an Atlanta grandparents' rights attorney online to book your consultation today.