Some grandparents in Alaska might need to seek custody or visitation with their grandchildren. Before doing so, they should understand what rights they have. Custody and visitation will always be about a child’s best interest, but when it comes to grandparents, there are additional requirements.
Can grandparents seek custody of their grandchildren?
In general, courts usually prefer to grant custody to the parents of children unless there is another factor involved, such as abuse or neglect. If grandparents seek custody, courts will consider:
- The relationship between the parents and the child
- Any allegations of parents being unfit to care for the child
- The grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild
The wishes of the parents on whether they agree that the grandparents should have custody of the children will also be a major consideration for the court. The goal is to implement a custody situation that provides for the well-being of the children.
Can grandparents seek visitation with their grandchildren?
Grandparents can petition for visitation rights with their grandchildren. However, as with child custody, there are some factors that the courts will consider before granting visitation. The first thing grandparents must prove to gain visitation with their grandchildren is that continuing this relationship is in the best interest of the children or that the children will be emotionally harmed by being denied time with their grandparents. In addition, some courts will look at the marital state of the parents of the children before deciding to grant visitation. In some cases, the court will only consider a visitation request if it is made by the parent of the child’s deceased parent.
Grandparents might find that seeking custody and visitation through the courts can be a complicated process. However, they may first try to amicably resolve the issue with the parents since it is often in the child’s best interests to have their parents and grandparents have a positive relationship.