What are the rights of grandparents to their grandchildren?
In Alaska, the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is considered important, just as it is throughout the country. When the family dynamic changes due to a divorce or a split between unwed parents, it can affect that relationship. It’s important to understand what rights grandparents have with respect to their grandchildren.
What rights do grandparents have?
Depending on the circumstances within the family, grandparents’ rights might include child custody or visitation with their grandchild. There are no set laws regarding custody issues for grandparents as the court gives precedence to the parents. The only exceptions are when a parent is deemed unfit or the child would benefit if a person other than a parent gains custody, such as if being with the parent puts the child in danger.
How can a grandparent gain visitation?
Included in Alaska grandparents’ rights, it’s possible for grandparents to request visitation from the court. Often, the parents are in the middle of a custody battle when this happens. The court will consider certain factors when making this determination. The best interests of the child are the main factor. The court will also examine whether the grandparents have had continuous contact with the child or if they have attempted to stay in contact with them and whether the parent withholding the grandparents’ rights to the child is detrimental to the child.
When grandparents request visitation, they can request that the court add it to the parents’ ongoing custody case. There are also certain forms needed to request visitation with grandchildren. One form pertains to parents who are going through a divorce or separation if they’re unmarried. The other form applies when custody has already been decided among the parents. Knowing where the parents stand on custody can indicate which form grandparents need when requesting visitation.