How are grandparents’ rights determined in Alabama?

It is not unusual for a child custody and visitation dispute in Alabama to extend to whether grandparents will have the right to see or have custody of the child. Knowing how the law views this is imperative for the parents, and the grandparents to make certain that they have a grasp on grandparents’ rights and what can and cannot be done. Under the law, a grandparent is defined as the parent of the parent of a minor child. This includes children who have been adopted.

The grandparent is allowed to file for visitation with a minor child, if it is in the child’s best interests and the following factors are in place: one or both of the child’s parents are deceased; there has been a dissolution of the marriage between the parents; a parent has abandoned the child; or if the child was born out of wedlock. There can also be visitation for the grandparents if the child lives with one or both of the biological or adoptive parents, the parents remain married to one another independent of whether the relationship between the parents and the grandparent and either parent or both parents have enacted their authority as parents to prohibit a relationship between the grandparent and the child.

The best interests of the child will be contingent on the following: how willing the grandparents are to encourage there be a close relationship between the child and the parents; what the child prefers provided he or she is of age to express the preference; the mental and physical health of the child; the mental and physical health of the grandparents; if there is evidence of domestic violence in the parents’ household; if the parent has voluntarily or through a court order relinquished custody if there was financial abandonment or if the grandparent has established a relationship with the child; what the wishes of a living parent are; and any other relevant factors.

When grandparents are seeking to have visitation or child custody, it can result in a slew of confusing and difficult family law issues. Because it can entail such complexity, having legal assistance is a key. Speaking to an attorney who is experienced with family law can help with a case.

Source: Al.us, “Section 30-3-4.1 — Grandparent visitation,” accessed on Nov. 14, 2016

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