Are you a grandparent in the Atlanta, Georgia area seeking visitation rights or custody of your grandchild? If so, you may need to demonstrate to a court why such rights should be granted.
This is easier to do with assistance from a professional familiar with the relevant policies and statutes. At Weiss Family Law, Atlanta grandparents’ rights and equitable caregiver attorney Traci Weiss is on hand to help you secure your relationship with a grandchild.
Georgia law recognizes the importance of grandparents in the lives of their grandchildren, but it does not provide an automatic right for grandparents to have visitation or custody of their grandchildren. Instead, grandparents in Georgia may seek visitation or custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances.
Visitation Rights for Grandparents in Georgia:
Under Georgia law, grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights with their grandchildren if:
To grant visitation rights to a grandparent, the court must determine that the visitation is in the best interests of the child and will not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
Custody Rights for Grandparents in Georgia:
In Georgia, grandparents may seek custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances, such as:
To obtain custody of a grandchild, the grandparent must demonstrate to the court that it is in the best interests of the child to be in the grandparent’s custody. This is not a task a grandparent necessarily has to complete on their own. Instead, they can enlist the services of a legal professional to help them gather evidence that might show a court why it is in the best interests of a child for their grandparent to obtain custody.
A skilled Atlanta grandparents’ rights lawyer may help you present your case in a variety of ways. The types of evidence that may indicate to a court that a grandparent should have custody of a grandchild can vary depending on the specifics of each case. Examples of evidence an attorney might present include (but aren’t necessarily limited to):
Expert testimony: A lawyer may call upon expert witnesses, such as child psychologists or social workers, to testify as to the best interests of the child and to support the grandparent’s custody petition.
The Equitable Caregiver Act is a law that went into effect in Georgia in 2019. The law provides a legal mechanism for non-parents who have acted as «equitable caregivers» to seek custody of or visitation with a child.
Under the Equitable Caregiver Act, an «equitable caregiver» is defined as a person who has:
If a person meets these criteria, they may be considered an equitable caregiver and may be able to seek custody of or visitation with the child, even if they are not the child’s biological or adoptive parent.
To seek custody or visitation under the Equitable Caregiver Act, the person must file a petition with the court. The court will then consider a variety of factors to determine whether granting custody or visitation to the equitable caregiver is in the best interests of the child.
These factors may include:
It’s important to note that the Equitable Caregiver Act does not automatically grant custody or visitation rights to non-parents who have acted as equitable caregivers. Instead, the court will consider the specific circumstances of each case to determine whether granting custody or visitation to the equitable caregiver is in the best interests of the child.
If you are a non-parent who has acted as an equitable caregiver and are seeking custody or visitation of a child, it is recommended that you consult with an attorney who specializes in family law to discuss your options and the specific requirements under the Equitable Caregiver Act. An Atlanta grandparents’ rights/equitable caregiver attorney can help you navigate what may otherwise be a complex process.
Traci A. Weiss of Atlanta’s Weiss Family Law understands that pursuing your rights as a grandparent or caregiver can be an emotionally-fraught experience. Having handled family law cases in Georgia for decades, she offers the compassion and expertise necessary to help guide you in these circumstances. Learn more about what our firm can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at 770-727-0533.
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