Grandparents often hold a special place in the hearts of their grandchildren. In some situations, they step in to provide the support that is normally given by a parent or guardian. Despite these close relationships, grandparents do not have inherent custody rights.
However, grandparents could have the opportunity to seek guardianship or even custody of their grandchildren in particular cases. While courts disfavor taking away rights from parents, judges have an obligation to act in a child’s best interest. Working with a family law attorney, it could be possible for you to secure rights regarding your grandchildren. Let a Junction City grandparents’ rights lawyer review your case and help you consider your options.
There is no guarantee of rights for a grandparent, but there is an option under Kansas state law to request visitation under certain circumstances. The court will consider these requests, but a judge will only grant them if doing so is in the best interest of a child. A Junction City grandparents’ rights attorney could assist with a petition for visitation.
There are only specific times when a grandparent can request visitation. Typically, this is only an option for grandparents following major life changes. This could include the divorce of the child’s parents, the death of a parent, or some form of the legal proceeding where the child’s custody is addressed.
Before a grandparent can secure visitation rights, they must establish two important factors. First, they must show they have a “substantial grandparent-grandchild” relationship. Second, they must prove formal visitation is in the best interest of the child.
Establishing the extent of the grandparents’ relationship with the child is often central to these requests. This could involve providing evidence of the amount of time the child has spent with their grandparents. It could also involve proof of grandparents standing in the role of parents, like hosting grandchildren for overnight stays, or taking them to school.
The judge must also decide what is in the best interest of the child. Even if the grandparents can prove that they have a substantial relationship, visitation will not be an option if they cannot show extending these rights is in the grandchild’s best interest. An example of this could be proving the parent is unstable or unable to adequately provide for the child’s basic needs (i.e., unable to keep a steady job/income or a permanent living situation.)
Visitation rights are only part of the equation when it comes to grandparents’ rights. In some cases, a grandparent might seek to serve as a guardian of their grandchild or even adopt them. Either option is only possible through a court order.
The law does not allow a grandparent to adopt their grandchild on a whim. Instead, there must be evidence that the parents are unfit, and that the child is in danger in their current living situation. Alternatively, parents who are unable to care for their children could voluntarily give them up for adoption to the grandparents. In either situation, the guidance of a Junction City grandparents’ rights attorney could be invaluable in pursuing the best possible outcome for the children.
Before you try to take legal action on your own, let a skilled attorney help you review your options. You might have a viable case for requesting visitation with your grandchild or even stepping into the role of their guardian.
Let a Junction City grandparents’ rights lawyer help you protect your relationship with your grandchild. Call today for a private consultation.