When a couple makes the decision to divorce, it goes without saying that it will prove to be difficult for both them and their children, as the months ahead will be filled with significant change and considerable uncertainty.
What sometimes gets overlooked, however, is that this difficulty is often not just confined to the immediate family, as grandparents are also left to cope with this significant change and the unenviable uncertainty as to whether they will be able to continue seeing their grandchildren.
In today's post, the first in a series, we'll take a closer look at what the laws in Georgia have to say concerning the visitation rights of grandparents.
Who is considered a grandparent in Georgia and why does it matter?
State law defines a grandparent as any of the following:
- The parents of a minor child's parent
- The parents of a minor child's deceased parent
- The parents of a minor child's parent whose parental rights have been terminated
This is significant, as state law only grants those considered grandparents in the eyes of the law the opportunity to seek visitation rights with grandchildren.
If a couple isn't actually married, does this affect the ability of paternal grandparents to secure visitation rights?
No. The law declares that the parents of a minor child's father are considered paternal grandparents despite the fact that no marriage took place.
Are grandparents in Georgia automatically granted visitation rights?
Grandparents in Georgia are not automatically granted visitation rights. However, the law does provide them with two methods for requesting them, including joining an existing case and filing a petition for visitation.
We'll examine these two options in our next post. In the meantime, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional if you have questions or concerns regarding divorce, child custody or other family law matters.