There is an increasing rate of grandparents gaining custody of their grandchildren, due to special circumstances that impact the best interest of the child. However, the threshold of proving that the child living with their grandparents is in the best interest is quite high, and the onus is on them to make this evident to the court.
What makes the battle between grandparent and parent as opposed to the traditional parent versus parent so odd is the seemingly common trend wherein even when the grandparents are clearly the more fit caretakers, the courts have still gone ahead and granted custody to the biological parents. A grandparent can make a motion for custody of a child at any time, however, it is advised that you heavily weigh the consequences of such a move. If the court were to deny the custody request, it could subsequently result in the entire family being alienated from you completely.
The biological parents of the children will need to be notified via a notice of the custody action being brought forth. Moreover, there are a set of conditions that can lead to a grandparent obtaining custody, including:
- The parents consenting to give the grandparents custody.
- Clearly documented abuse and/or neglect in the parents’ home
- Drug or alcohol abuse occurring in the child’s home.
- One or both parent’s mental illness.
- Finding that one parent is unfit, and the other can’t or won’t take the child
Any one of these circumstances could give rise to a court order granting custody, but more often than not, it is an amalgamation of these things that causes the court to rule in favor of the grandparents (a lot of these elements are often found be occurring together).
If you have not consulted the biological parents about this first, going to court without informing them could potentially result in anger and animosity between the parties, but if you believe it is imperative for the grandchild to be with you, discuss your options with a family attorney today.