Do Grandparents have Visitation Rights?
M&T Practice Pointer
Please note that grandparents cannot seek visitation if the parents of the child are not separated and the child is still living with both parents.
How is Grandparent Visitation Determined?
Upon the grandparents' filing of a visitation action or intervention, the court may choose to grant reasonable visitation rights to the grandparents if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the health or welfare of the child would be harmed unless such visitation is granted and if the best interests of the child would be served by such visitation.
The court considers 4 factors when determining if there is clear and convincing evidence that the health and welfare of the child would be harmed unless there is visitation by the grandparents (or other family member).
- The minor child resided with the family member for six months or more;
- The family member 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 family member with the child; or
- Any other circumstance exists indicating that emotional or physical harm would be reasonably likely to result if such visitation is not granted.
2018 Law Change For Grandparent Visitation
It's important to note that law on grandparents visitation rights in Georgia changed recently and is continuing to develop. In 2018, The Supreme Court of Georgia found portions of the visitation rights statute (O.C.G.A. § 19-7-1) unconstitutional. The Court noted that the statutory provisions authorizing courts to award child visitation to a grandparent over the objection of a fit parent without a clear and convincing showing of harm to child in circumstances involving the death, incapacitation, or incarceration of the other parent violated the fundamental right of parents to the care, custody, and control of their children under state constitution.