Grandparents often serve as primary caretakers for their grandchildren. In these situations, their bond may be so strong that the child views the grandparent as a parental figure. However, this does not change the legal rights of a grandparent to serve as a parent for that child.
There are ways for a grandparent to assert certain rights regarding their grandchildren or, in some cases, to become the guardian or adopted parent of a child. However, the family court system is complicated, and any grandparent seeking these rights should speak to a knowledgeable attorney to learn their legal options. In disputes over custody or visitation, a Connecticut grandparents’ rights lawyer can be a powerful ally.
Grandparents do not have any legal right to visit grandchildren. Unfortunately, this means that grandparents will likely be unable to see their grandchildren if the parents do not want them to unless legal action is taken.
A grandparent may be able to obtain court-granted visitation if they can prove that denying that time would be harmful to the child. A skilled attorney can make this argument in cases where a grandparent serves as a crucial parental figure in the child’s life. In cases involving older children, the court may also take the child’s wishes into account.
A knowledgeable attorney can help Connecticut grandparents understand their legal options for seeking visitation rights.
There are several factors in determining whether a grandparent will be granted visitation rights. For one, the court will want to ensure that the grandparent is not trying to undermine the parents’ role and relationship with the child. In cases involving a death of a parent or the parents’ separation, judges may consider the impact of such events on the grandparent’s relationship with the child.
The court will also seek to understand the following information:
Even if the court finds that the grandparent fulfills a parent-like role in the child’s life, this is not enough to grant visitation. A petitioning grandparent must also show that a lack of visitation will harm the child. A local grandparents’ rights attorney can help present evidence of why visitation is necessary in a particular case.
In Connecticut, a grandparent can become a child’s custodial parent in one of four ways:
Importantly, only the first three methods come with legal rights for the grandparent. If the grandparent informally takes on a parental role, the parents can legally reclaim the child at any time. To gain all the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent, a grandparent must pursue formal adoption, which requires full termination of parental rights.
Alternatively, a grandparent can seek guardianship or custody, which allows the parents to maintain certain rights, such as visitation with the child. In these cases, parents may also have to pay child support but can seek modifications in the future.
Familial relations can be complicated, and grandparents often step in to care for children when the parents are unable to on their own. In these cases, grandparents forge important relationships that can be vital to their grandchildren’s wellbeing.
The law recognizes several scenarios where grandparents deserve legal protections and certain parental rights. If you wish to protect your relationship with your grandchildren, contact a Connecticut grandparents’ rights lawyer to learn about your options.