As an aunt or uncle in Georgia, it's important to know your rights when it comes to custody and visitation of your nieces and nephews.
There are several legal actions you can take to ensure you have a role in their lives.
You can file a motion to intervene in an open custody case, which would allow you to seek guaranteed visitation rights. Additionally, you could ask the court to grant you primary custody of the child.
If you are already a caregiver for the child, you can seek to be established as an "equitable caregiver" which would give you custody or visitation rights that are much harder to take away later on.
Finally, if you are interested in taking on a more permanent role, you can also consider adopting your niece or nephew. Make sure you know your options and take the necessary steps to ensure your relationship with your family members remains strong.
Intervening in a case to get Aunt or Uncle visitation rights
As an aunt or uncle in Georgia, there may come a time when you wish to secure court-ordered visitation with your nieces or nephews.
While it may seem like an uphill battle, rest assured that there is legal recourse available to ensure that your rights are protected. Specifically, a motion to intervene can be filed in an open custody case, which essentially asks the court to allow you to become a party to the litigation.
Examples of open custody cases would be a divorce action or a modification of custody action between two parents or two legal custodians of the children.
Under OCGA 19-7-3(b)(1)(B), if it is determined that granting you visitation would be in the best interests of the child, and that the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless the visitation was granted, the court may issue an order allowing you to visit with them.
The court looks at other factors when making this determination as well - such as have the children lived with you for more than six months, and was there already an established visitation schedule between you and your nieces and nephews.
While the process can be daunting, it is important to remember that as a close relative, you have a special place in your nieces' and nephews' lives, and that the court will consider that in making its decision.
Asking the court to grant custody to an Aunt or Uncle
In the state of Georgia, aunts and uncles face a difficult challenge when seeking custody of their nieces or nephews.
The legal system maintains a presumption that it is in the best interest of the children to stay with their parents. However, this presumption can be overcome if the parents are abusive or have abandoned the children.
If you are an aunt or uncle seeking custody of your relative, know that it is a challenging road but one that is doable with the right legal support. The statute that allows aunts and uncles to request custody is OCGA 19-7-1(b.1).
By gathering evidence of the parents' neglect or abuse and by seeking legal representation, you can increase your chances of successfully obtaining custody of your loved ones.
Remember, the ultimate goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of your nieces or nephews.
Being established as an "equitable caregiver" as an Aunt or Uncle
In Georgia, aunts and uncles who act as "third parent" caregivers to their nieces and nephews have the opportunity to make their role official by becoming an Equitable Caregiver.
This can be done through petitioning the court and demonstrating a prior involvement in the children's life, as well as the potential harm that could occur if the party in question were not granted equitable caregiver status.
As an Equitable Caregiver, aunts and uncles are granted similar rights to that of custody and visitation, as deemed appropriate by the court. This process may seem daunting, but it serves as a valuable tool for families seeking legal recognition of the important role of their loved ones.
Adoption of a niece or nephew by an Aunt or Uncle
In the state of Georgia, aunts and uncles have certain rights when it comes to their nieces and nephews.
Not only can they take on the role of a caregiver and provide emotional support, but they can also seek to adopt their young ones. This can be achieved through the consent of the child's parents, where the parents voluntarily surrender their rights.
Alternatively, aunts and uncles can ask the court to terminate the parents' rights if there is a valid reason for doing so, such as abandonment or abuse. This process is the most permanent form of custody, as it grants legal parenting status to the aunt or uncle.
So, if you are an aunt or uncle in Georgia, take comfort in the fact that you have certain legal rights and can provide a loving home for your nieces and nephews.
How We Can Help
As an aunt or uncle, we understand how important it is to have a relationship with your nieces and nephews.
However, in some cases, these relationships can be at risk due to various circumstances and issues going on with the parents of the children.
At Your Law Firm, we understand the rights of aunts and uncles in Georgia and are here to help you seek those rights and protect your relationship with your loved ones.
From visitation rights to custody arrangements and even adoption, we are dedicated to providing professional and friendly legal services that will help you achieve your desired outcome.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can partner with you in this important matter.