When children are involved in a divorce or child custody case, their grandparents
may have little to no rights when it comes to visitation. A bill recently
passed by Georgia lawmakers, however, may change this trend.
In Georgia, House lawmakers passed a bill that seeks to increase the visitation
rights of grandparents who have grandchildren involved in divorce, child
custody or termination of parental rights cases.
Under the bill, if a grandparent has paid more than half the child's
living expenses or kept the child in their home for at least six months,
judges are instructed to consider awarding them visitation. In addition,
judges will be instructed to consider the wishes of the parents.
Judges may also rule that the child will be harmed if they are not allowed
at least some contact with their grandparents. At a minimum, the visits
awarded to grandparents would total 24 hours in a month.
The bill will now head to the Senate.
If the bill is passed, it may alter future discussions of visitation in
a divorce or child custody case. The effects may lead to the involvement
of three or four parties in visitation disputes, rather than just one or two.
While this bill discusses visitation only, child custody may one day be
impacted. It is crucial that parents understand every aspect of the law
in terms of visitation, child custody and the termination of parental
rights. Hiring and consulting with an experienced attorney is often the
best first step when someone is dealing with issues related to family law.