Dreamstime_3455171_2 Do grandparents have the right to visit their grandchildren?

In Georgia, grandparents can ask the Superior Court for visitation rights by filing a Petition for Visitation.

There are two ways for a grandparent to seek visitation.

1. File an Original Action for Visitation. A grandparent can file what is called an "original action" for visitation. To file this type of action:

  • there can’t be any other cases before the court that involve custody or visitation for the child
  • the parents of the child must be separated or divorced
  • the grandparents can’t file this type of action more than once every two years, and
  • the grandparents can’t file this type of action in any year that another custody action has been filed for the child.

2. Join an Existing Case. A grandparent may get involved in an existing case for custody, divorce, adoption, or termination of parental rights. To do this, a grandparent must show the court two things.

  • A grandparent must show the court that the child’s health or welfare would be harmed if the grandparent could not visit the child.
  • A grandparent must show that visitation is in the child’s best interests. It is difficult to show these two things. The court does not presume that grandparents should have visitation rights.

Can a grandparent get involved in an adoption case?

Yes, but only when no legal parent is alive at the time of adoption.

Who is a legal mother?

There are two ways to be a legal mother. First, a woman who gives birth to a child is the legal mother. Second, a woman who adopts a child is the legal mother. To be the legal mother, the woman must not have given up her parental rights or had them taken away by the court.

Who is a legal father?

A legal father:

(1) was married to the birth mother when the child was conceived or when the child was born;

(2) married the birth mother after the child was born and recognized the child as his own;

(3) adopted the child;

(4) was found to be the father by a final paternity order; OR

(5) legitimated the child by final order.

The legal father must not have given up his parental rights or had them taken away by the court.

Who is a biological father?

A biological father is the man who got the birth mother pregnant.

SOURCE: LegalAid-GA.org