Filing for grandparents rights in Georgia involves a legal process that requires understanding of specific state laws and statutes.
As such, we often hear the question: “How do I file for grandparents rights in Georgia?”
The answer depends on what type of grandparents rights you are looking to gain.
Grandparents can seek visitation rights, custody, or even adoption of their grandchildren under certain circumstances in the state of Georgia.
Let’s take a closer look on how to navigate this process.
Grandparents Visitation Rights in Georgia
In Georgia, grandparents have the right to file a petition for visitation rights if they believe it is in the best interest of the grandchild.
The court will consider factors such as the existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the child’s health, and the overall impact on the child’s well-being.
Also, this can only be done if the child’s parents are separated and not living together.
Can a Parent Deny a Grandparent Visitation in Georgia?
While parents have primary authority over their children, a parent cannot deny a grandparent visitation in Georgia without a valid reason, if there is a court order granting the visitation.
The court will always prioritize the child’s best interest and can override a parent’s decision if it is deemed detrimental to the child’s welfare.
However, without a court order, the parents can and often do deny a grandparent visitation with their grandchild.
How Much Visitation Can Grandparents Get in Georgia?
The amount of visitation granted to grandparents varies case by case.
The court will consider several factors, including the child’s age, the grandparent’s health, and the quality of the existing relationship, among other things.
At minimum, the grandparent should get 24 hours per month, and should be allowed to know about and attend all of the child’s public events and performances.
Grandparent Custody Rights in Georgia
Grandparents may also seek custody of their grandchildren in Georgia.
This usually happens when the parents are unable or unwilling to provide adequate care for the child.
The parents will still maintain their legal rights to the child, and may be ordered to pay the grandparents child support, but the child will primarily live with and be parented by their grandparents.
Reasons Grandparents Can File for Custody of Grandchild in Georgia
There are various reasons why grandparents may seek custody.
These can include parental neglect, abuse, drug addiction, or incarceration.
In such cases, the court will assess the situation and may award custody to the grandparents if it is in the child’s best interests.
Grandparent Adoption in Georgia
In some cases, grandparents may wish to fully adopt their grandchildren.
This is typically considered when the parents are no longer alive, are unable to care for the child due to severe issues, or have voluntarily given up their parental rights.
In this scenario, the grandparents become the legal parents of the child, once the adoption is granted.
Reasons to Adopt Your Grandchild in Georgia
Reasons for grandparent adoption can be numerous but primarily revolve around ensuring the child’s stability and welfare.
Adoption grants grandparents full legal rights and responsibilities towards the child, providing a stable and loving environment for the child’s upbringing.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Grandparents Rights in Georgia?
The cost of filing for grandparents rights in Georgia varies depending on the complexity of the case.
For visitation rights, you can see lower costs of attorney fees and other court costs if the case is uncontested (around $3,000). You will have much higher costs in a contested case (somewhere between $5,000 to $15,000 – or even more).
The legal costs for filing for custody can be slightly higher, even in an uncontested – perhaps starting around $5,000. And of course, it will be much higher in a contested case – starting at $7,500 and easily crossing the $30,000 threshold, or greater.
Adoption cases, interestingly enough, might actually be the same or less expensive than a custody case – ranging between $5,000 and $15,000 or more.
This is because, if it’s at the point where you need to adopt your grandchild for their protection, you probably have a lot of evidence that the parents are harmful to the child, and you can ask the court to terminate the parent’s rights.
Now, if the court denies that request to terminate the parent’s rights, then you’re looking at changing the case to a grandparent custody case, which is a much lengthier – and thus costlier – battle.
Remember, seeking grandparents rights involves navigating complex legal processes.
It is always advisable to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who specializes in family law to ensure your case is handled correctly and efficiently.
If you’re in the North Georgia or Metro Atlanta area, give us a call at Your Law Firm to find out more about what grandparents’ rights are best for your specific case. We are here to serve any way we can.