For many Alabama grandparents, nothing brings more joy to their lives than seeing their grandchildren. For some, visits are few and far between, while others have daily interaction and supervision over their grandchildren.
On certain occasions, circumstances may arise with the child’s parents that may lead the grandparents to wonder whether it would be better for the grandparent to have legal custody over the child. For instance, when parents are convicted on criminal charges the legal custody of the child may become an issue, particularly when the charges are related to child abuse or neglect.
This was the case for grandparents who served as caretakers for their grandchildren after the parents were charged with child abuse and neglect. The grandparents ultimately sought and won full custody of the two grandchildren, despite a long and hard fought court battle.
Generally, the child custody laws for grandparent custody are similar to those for parents in a divorce, in that the best interests of the child remains the key inquiry. The best interests standard refers to a number of factors that look at everything from the capability of the grandparent to care for the child to the needs and welfare of the child.
However, states may have additional statutes that apply regarding whether the grandparent has custody or visitation rights. Accordingly, before making a petition for child custody, the grandparent may want to get more information on what a particular state’s law is on grandparent custody, and what arguments need to be made in order for child custody to be granted to the grandparent.
Source: The Tennessean, “Court grants custody to Heggie,” Colleen Creamer, July 25, 2013