In the state, both step-grandparents and grandparents fall under the category of “persons with legitimate interest” in a child’s welfare. Thus, it allows these groups of people the right to request either custody or visitation rights for the child.
While courts often lean the most heavily toward awarding custody to the biological parents of the child, they must always consider what is in the child’s best interest first. If this is not the biological parents, then grandparents may end up gaining custody instead.
When do courts grant custody?
VeryWell Family looks at some legal forms of custody regarding grandchildren. First, a grandparent must have a substantial claim to custody or at least have the belief that he or she can prove this true. Before all else, the grandparent must challenge the biological parents’ ability to provide the child with adequate care.
A court could potentially grant custody in the following cases:
- The child’s parents have lost custody of the child before
- There is proof that the child’s parents are unfit due to physical or mental abuse, abduction, or a child’s special needs
- The child’s parents gave up custody willingly
- The child’s parents effectively left their child abandoned
Losing your rights as a person with a legitimate interest
In two situations, a grandparent may potentially lose their rights as a person with legitimate interests. In the first case, it involves someone other than a stepparent adopting the child. The second case involves the courts revoking the parental rights of a grandparent’s son or daughter, which in turn also extends to them.
These scenarios can pose a tricky navigation problem, and thus it may benefit grandparents seeking custody to have legal aid in their quest.