Birmingham Grandparents Rights Lawyer
Grandparents play a very important role in the lives of their grandchildren. After spending years developing a relationship with the children, and perhaps even caring for them at times, grandparents may wonder if they have legal visitation rights. This is particularly true when one parent passes away, or the parents get a divorce. Below, our Birmingham grandparents rights lawyer explains when grandparents can legally request visitation.
When Can a Grandparent Seek Visitation Rights?
Grandparents can petition the court for visitation rights if it is in the child’s best interests and one of the following applies:
- One or both parents of the child have passed away,
- The parents of the child have gotten a divorce,
- A parent abandoned the child,
- The child was born out of wedlock, or
- The child is living with one or both parents, who are still married, and one or both parents are preventing the grandparent from having a relationship with the child.
If the parents of the grandchild are still married, the courts will not intervene and provide a grandparent with visitation rights. The only exception to this is if the parents have previously denied the grandparent visitation.
The Best Interests of the Child
The grandparent visitation laws in Alabama defer to the parent of the child. The courts presume that when a child is living with one or both parents, the parents understand whether grandparent visitation is in the best interests of the child. As such, when a dispute arises between the parents’ wishes and what grandparents want, the courts will usually decide in the parents’ favor. Still, grandparents are given a chance to prove to the court that visitation with the child is in the child’s best interests.
There are many factors the court will consider when deciding what is in the best interests of the child. These include:
- The willingness of the grandparents to encourage a close relationship between the child and their parent,
- The physical and mental health of the child,
- Any history of domestic violence by either parent against the child or the other parent,
- The wishes of any living parent,
- The preference of the child, if they have reached a certain level of maturity, and
- Any other factor relevant to the custody decision.
The court will also consider the nature of the relationship between the grandparent and the child. For example, if a grandmother has been the primary caregiver for a child, they would have a better chance of obtaining visitation rights than one who rarely made any attempt to see the child.
Timelines in Grandparents’ Visitation Cases
Grandparents can only request visitation once in a 24-month period. However, if one grandparent has already petitioned for visitation, it does not prevent another grandparent from filing once within a 24-month period. Unless abuse has been involved, parents also cannot ask the court to revoke or amend a grandparent’s rights more than once in a 24-month period.
Our Grandparents Rights Lawyer in Birmingham Can Prove Your Case
If you need to ask the court for grandparents rights, you need sound legal advice. At Peeples Law, our Birmingham grandparents rights lawyer can prove your case and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. Call us now at 205-403-5577 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.