The media always portrays the holidays as the most joyous time for families. However, for some, the holidays can bring a share of trouble. Tensions can rise and even the calmest and collected individuals can think about tearing their hair out.
For most grandparents, it's a priority to see the grandchildren over the holiday season. If the grandkids are caught in a hostile divorce situation, though, this may be difficult. What rights do grandparents have when it comes to holiday visitation in Georgia?
Sorting out holiday visitation is much simpler when there is an official visitation agreement in place. In Georgia, grandparents are allowed to file a motion with the court requesting visitation privileges provided two conditions are met.
First, grandparents can only file for visitation once every two years. This doesn't include appeals -- just original motions to the court.
Second, grandparents cannot request visitation with a child that lives with both parents that are not separated. In other words, if the parent’s marriage is on solid footing, then this is a matter for the parents and grandparents to work out, not the courts.
Before you think about filing a court motion to get visitation rights, you should also consider a non-adversarial option, such as mediation or some kind of dispute resolution. The holidays may be just the time to repair damage in a relationship with the children's parents.
One other legal option that you have is to join an already existing legal action. If there is a petition in front of the court that would make changes to the parental structure of your grandchildren, such as a divorce by the parents, a request to terminate parental rights or an adoption motion, you can request to join the action as an intervening party, i.e. a party that has a vested interest in the outcome of the case.
As with all other things in family law, the key factor that determines whether the court will grant visitation privileges is whether it's in the best interests of the child. The court also wants to know if denying the visitation request will cause emotional and/or physical harm to the child.
The court will consider four things when trying to decide if there will be harm caused by denying the request. These four factors are:
For grandparents, holiday visitation is something you look forward to all year long. It would be a shame to lose that privilege due to a hostile divorce or not understanding your rights.
Family Matters Law Group believes in fighting for grandparent's rights. For years, we've been helping grandparents across the metro Atlanta area secure the visitation privileges that mean so much to them. There's no better time than the holidays to reach out and get the rights you deserve.
We'd love to hear your story and we've made it easy to set up a consultation. Simply call our office or use our convenient online contact form. This year, take the first steps towards making sure you never miss a holiday visitation with your grandchildren again.