The state of Georgia recognizes that the relationship with a grandparent is important to a child, and gives the grandparents the right to seek visitation when it is otherwise unavailable to them. This might occur when one parent is deceased, or does not get visitation with the children. The grandparents may file a separate action against the custodial parent to seek visitation rights with their grandchildren. However, because of a recent Supreme Court of Georgia ruling, the legislature had to re-write the statute to eliminate the right of the grandparent to intervene where the grandchild is living with both biological parents in an intact family.
The custody of a child cannot be given to someone who is not a biological parent unless it is determined, by clear and convincing evidence, that it would be in the child’s best interest to live with a relative other than the biological parent. It is no longer necessary that the parent be found to be unfit.
If fitness of a parent is an issue in deciding custody the Judge will sometimes ask for a Guardian Ad Litem to help investigate from the child’s perspective and make a recommendation to the Court.