Grandparent Rights to visit their grandchildren have been strengthened by the new law that went into effect on May 1, 2012, which gave grandparents more rights and abilities to obtain visitation for their grandchildren.
Under the new law, a grandparent may seek visitation rights through the Courts when their grandchildren are involved in cases involving child custody, divorce, or the termination of parental rights. It will encourage judges to allow children to visit their grandparents when that grandparent has financially supported the child for a year or regularly visited with the child.
Best Interests of the Minor Child
The new law allows judges to rule that the child’s Best Interests would be harmed without some "minimal" contact with their grandparents. The new law eliminates the language that states that there is "no presumption" in favor of grandparent visitation, and adds the following language:
In considering whether the health or welfare of the child would be harmed without such visitation, the court shall consider and may find that harm to the child is reasonably likely to result where prior to the original action or intervention:
The minor child resided with the grandparent for six months or more
The grandparent provided financial support for the basic needs of the child for at least one year
There was an established pattern of regular visitation or child care by the grandparent with the child
The quantity of visitation time requested and the potential adverse impact that the visitation will have on the child’s customary activities
Any other circumstance exists indicating that emotional or physical harm would be reasonably likely to result if such visitation is not granted
It further establishes a rebuttable presumption that a child who is denied any contact with his or her grandparents or who is not provided some minimal opportunity for contact with his or her grandparents may suffer emotional injury that is harmful to such a child's health.
The new law is effective immediately. It revises the Official Code of Georgia O.C.G.A. § 19-7-3.
At Georgia Family Law, P.C., we put our experience to work for you to ensure that you and your family are protected while determining Grandparents Rights