Can Grandparents Sue For Custody of a Grandchild?

Updated on September 27, 2021
Updated: January 18, 2023

A grandparent plays an important role in the life of a child. Even as this is the case if there is death or if a divorce occurs the amount of time that the grandparent spends with their grandchild changes.

Most states do allow some kind third-party visitation rights, particularly grandparents visitation and can grant custody of a grandchild. However, it's only under extraordinary circumstances and if it is in the best interest of the child. Each state has its own different laws concerning how a grandparent can get visitation and it is important for you to understand the laws of the sate that you live in.

Most courts highly value parental role in the life of a child. Most of the times the biological parents of a child have a higher advantage when it comes to custody matters. Even so, there are some circumstances that can result in the grandparents getting custody over a child.

Can grandparents sue for custody of a grandchild? Yes they can. However, if they are to have a higher chance of success it is important to seek help from experienced child custody lawyers in Orland Park who can advise them and enlighten on the documentation they need and the process they need to go through. This article will help you to understand the circumstances that a grandparent can get custody.

Steps Grandparents Can Take to Help Gain Custody of a Grandchild

Every custody case for grandparents is different. There are several steps that you can take to support the child custody case. Here are some of the steps that you can take;

  • Pictorial evidence of the relationship between the child and grandparent.
  • Testimony from an expert witness such as a reputable therapist who can attest on the grandparent and child bond.
  • Testimonies from other people such as doctors, teachers and other people that see the grandparent providing care, guidance and transportation for the child.

Aside from taking these there are some things that you should consider before taking this very important step.

Things to Consider Before Suing for Custody of Your Grandchildren

 As a grandparent seeking the rights to custody over your grandchild or grandchildren here are some of the things that you should consider.

Think about the Long-Term Consequences of Your Actions

In the case where you are taking care for a grandchild who is content in your care and the parents of the child are okay with the arrangement you should probably weigh the success that your case is going to have before you formally pursue a custody case. In this instance, if you file for custody you can end up alienating the parents of the child and if the case does not push through then it will negatively affect the relationship that you have with the biological parents as well as your grand children.

In the case where you require the authority to pursue parental activities on your grandchildren’s behalf you can contact an experienced family law attorney so you can discuss legal guardianship options for the children involved.

child custody for grandparents

Understand Who You Are Going Up Against

You should keep in mind that your grandchild has two parents. Most of the times a parent who has a troubled parent-child relationship has a child with an equally unfit parent. Investigate into the matter and see if you would be able to emerge successful in a grandparent custody case against both parents. In the case where the other parent is the father to the minor child you should ascertain if they have been legally recognized as the father to the child.

If both parents are legally recognized they will be given a notice if there is any physical custody action taken that will end up affecting their parental rights. When both parents are in the picture you have the burden of proving a case against both of them. If you succeed in proving a case against your child for instance you risk losing custody to the other parent.

Related Content: Orland Park Child Support Lawyer

Consider Involving the Authorities or Law Enforcement

There are instances where your grandchildren may be in danger of abuse or neglect. In this case, it is appropriate to ask the child abuse officials to get involved so they can conduct protective investigation or action. When this happens and the child is removed from the parent’s care you can request for them to be placed in your care.

Avoid making any exaggerated or false claims in order to gain tactical advantage. People involved in a custody dispute are known by the state reporting agency to have a tendency of making false claims and exaggerating issues. As a result of making false claims or exaggerating statements during a custody battle, state reporting agency will develop a written record and can write recommendations that can end up causing harm to those people in court.

Learn More: How to Find the Best Child Custody Lawyer

Situations Where a Grandparent Can Gain Custody

The Cook County court systems affirm that the parents of a child have the legal right to care for them and to make decisions on what is best for them. If a third party such as a grandparent seeks out custody the court will make decision based on the child’s best interest. A grandparent who believes that the child would do best living with them are required to give convincing evidence as to why they have this idea.

Seeking Custody When Both Parent Are Alive

Each state has different child custody laws in regard to when the parents of child are alive. Most of the times the court will prefer that the child stay with both parents or either one of them. A third party can obtain custody if the parents of the child are not able or willing to care for the child.

Related Content: How Much Does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost?

Here are some of the instances that the child may be need to be placed in the care of the grandparent;

  • If the legal parents have been deemed unfit to take care of the child.
  • When both parents have given legal custody to grandparents. Consent to grandparent custody can be granted if the child was a minor while having the child.
  • Parental unfitness such as a mental Illness.
  • If one of the parents is unfit and the other either can’t or will not take care of the child.
  • If there is an issue of alcohol abuse or substance abuse in the home where the child resides with the parents or if there is evidence of the child living in a dangerous situation.
  • When neglect, emotional abuse, and claims of child abuse have been documented in the child’s home.

Despite these circumstances the grandparents of the child are likely to not get custody if there are other family members that want the child as well. If the parents have been acting as the child’s grandparent it can really weigh greatly in their favor when they are seeking custody. There are instances where the court may require the grandparent to live with the child one year before they award custody.

custody of a grandchild

Grandparent Custody after Death of the Custodial Parent

Here are some of the factors that will favor the grandparents child custody petition incase the custodial parent passed away;

  • If the child want to live with their grandparent.
  • If the deceased parent in their will  mentioned the grandparents should have custody over children.
  • If the grandchild and the custodial parent were already living with the grandparent staying with the grandparent can continue to provide some stability because of the environment and relationship between grandparent and child.

The courts will as well consider the age of the grandparents, their health as well as their financial situation. This will help them access how the custody arrangement of the grandparents will be suitable towards caring for their grandchildren. We have relevant experience in grandparent custody cases.  To get legal advice and assistance with your claims for custody of grandchildren you can contact us at Tommalieh Law.

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