What is the new law for grandparents rights in Georgia?

What is the New Law for Grandparents Rights in Georgia?

Understanding the law can be complex, especially when it comes to the sensitive topic of grandparents’ rights. 

In Georgia, recent changes have occurred in the past few years that allow grandparents more access to their grandchildren. 

One question we often hear is: “What is the new law for grandparents rights in Georgia?”

The new updates to the law for grandparents’ rights in Georgia centers around Georgia Code 19-7-3, which supports a grandparent’s legal right to see and spend time with their grandchildren.

While this code section, or a version thereof, has been around since the 70’s, more recent changes have been needed, as parts of the statute have been overturned as unconstitutional.

The most recent update to this law was in 2022.

Let’s explore this interesting topic in more detail below.

What is: Georgia Code 19-7-3

The Georgia Code 19-7-3 is a significant piece of legislation that impacts grandparents’ rights. 

This code supports a grandparent’s legal right to spend time with their grandchildren and even seek custody under specific circumstances. 

It is important to note that without a court order, grandparents do not have automatic legal rights to visitation or custody.

This law also supports certain relatives, alongside grandparents, with the right to intervene in an existing custody dispute for visitation with the child or children involved.

2022 Update to OCGA 19-7-3

Changes made to OCGA 19-7-3 in 2022 further defines what is and is not covered under grandparents’ rights in Georgia. 

For instance, the absence of an opportunity for a child to develop a relationship with a grandparent shall not be considered as harming the health or welfare of the child. 

This is because part of the statute was struck down by the Georgia Supreme Court as unconstitutional, and not in line with the rest of the custody provisions and practices of the state.

Now, the onus is on the grandparents to prove actual harm in order to prevail on a visitation rights case.

Can Grandparents Sue for Visitation Rights in Georgia

Yes, grandparents can sue for visitation rights in Georgia. 

However, they can only request visitation once every two years, and they cannot request visitation during a year when any other custody action is pending for the child.

They must also prove actual harm to the child, should the visitation not be granted.

How Much Visitation Can Grandparents Get in Georgia

The amount of visitation granted to grandparents can vary.

For example, a judge may award a grandparent as little as 24 hours of visitation per month. 

However, the child’s parent or legal guardian has the right to ask the court to revoke or modify these visitation rights.

Grandparents Custody Rights in Georgia

It is possible for grandparents to be awarded custody of their grandchildren. 

Courts in Georgia generally presume that it is in the best interest of the child to be with their parents. 

However, if it can be proven that staying with the parents is not in the best interest of the child, and that harm will come to the child by staying, grandparents or other individuals may be awarded custody.

Grandparent Adoption Option in Georgia

In certain circumstances, grandparents can adopt their grandchildren. 

The “Grandparents’ Bill of Rights” is not an exception to this rule. 

However, it is important to note that the only provision which grants grandparents visitation rights after an adoption is through the court system. 

Therefore, grandparents seeking to adopt their grandchildren should seek legal advice to understand their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the new law for grandparents’ rights in Georgia can help in navigating complex family situations. 

It’s always recommended to seek professional legal advice to fully comprehend these rights and how they can be applied in your specific situation.

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