Grandparents often have a special relationship with their grandchildren, providing them with advice, support, and unconditional love. Unfortunately, divorce, the death of a parent, or conflict between the grandparents and parents can threaten that relationship.
If you have been denied access to your grandchildren, you do not need to helplessly stand by—instead, a seasoned family attorney can be your advocate. A skilled Hartford grandparents’ rights lawyer can help you exercise your rights to care for and see your grandchildren to preserve the relationship for both parties’ benefit.
If grandparents believe their grandchildren are not adequately cared for, state law permits them to ask for custody. However, if the child’s parents oppose this, the grandparents must prove that the children are at risk in the parents’ care or that the parents are unfit to raise them. An attorney who understands the Hartford regulations and standards in these cases can help grandparents’ fight for their rights and file a petition to Connecticut Superior Court.
In many cases, grandparents informally assume care of their grandchildren out of necessity, such as when the parents cannot care for them and thereby agree to grandparent custody. However, a verbal or even written custody agreement between parents and grandparents is not legally enforceable in the state unless it is incorporated in an order issued by a judge.
Without a custody order, grandparents may not have the authority they need to make important decisions for their grandchildren, such as emergency medical care or school enrollment. Fortunately, experienced legal counsel can assist grandparents in obtaining a legally enforceable custody order when necessary.
If parents decide to prohibit all contact between their children and the grandparents, the grandparents do not have an absolute right to visitation. However, a grandparent may seek a visitation order if they have had a parent-like relationship with their grandchildren, and the grandchildren are at risk of suffering significant harm if visitation is denied. Under Connecticut General Statutes §46b-59, a visitation order does not give the grandparents any parental rights to the child and does not require them to pay child support.
Grandparents seeking visitation must prove their relationship with their grandchildren by ‘clear and convincing evidence,’ which can be challenging, but a local lawyer can help them through the process.
In cases where a child’s parents have voluntarily given up their parental rights, or a judge has terminated those rights due to the parents’ inability to raise him or her, grandparents may petition to adopt the grandchild, which would give them all of the legal rights and responsibilities of a parent. Grandparents seeking to adopt must file an adoption petition in court and submit to a home study conducted by either Connecticut’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) or a private agency licensed by DCF.
After the home study is completed, a judge conducts a final hearing to determine whether it is in the child’s best interest to be adopted. Adoption proceedings can be complex, so seeking the counsel of a grandparents’ rights attorney in Hartford can be beneficial for assistance through the adoption proceedings.
You may be feeling emotionally devastated and overwhelmed if you have been prohibited from seeing your grandchildren. Fortunately, our firm’s compassionate attorneys are committed grandparents’ rights advocates who can review the facts and circumstances and provide an honest assessment of your case. Contact a Hartford grandparents’ rights lawyer from our team today to get started. You deserve to fight for your relationship with your grandchild, and we are standing by to help.