Grandparents can offer stability and love to their grandchildren. They can also support their grandchildren in their social, emotional and cultural development. Sometimes, there are situations where a grandparent may want to seek custody of their grandchildren or visitation with them. In Indiana, there is a process to do that.
Generally, the court recognizes that parents have the right to determine who has a relationship with their children. However, if specific conditions are met and it is in the child’s best interest, grandparents may be able to request for visitation or custody.
To request visitation, the child’s parents must be divorced or separated and the child must have lived with the grandparent for at least six months. In addition, the child’s relationship with the grandparent must be significant.
The process for requesting grandparental visitation may be complex and it requires a higher burden of proof than is common in typical custody disputes. The court may consider the child’s relationship with the grandparents, including the nature and duration of the relationship, the grandparents’ ability to provide a stable environment for the child, the physical and emotional well-being of the child and the parents’ ability to provide for the child’s needs.
Grandparents who are asking for custody must show that the child’s welfare would be in jeopardy if they were not given custody.
Filing a petition
Grandparents can file a petition with the court for visitation or custody. The judge will consider the circumstances and the evidence before making a decision.
Grandparents should come prepared to provide compelling reasons to support their request and there is support available to help them through this process.