A grandparent may seek custody of their grandchild for several reasons. The parents may be unfit or unable to provide a financially and emotionally stable environment for the child. This may be due to substance abuse, neglect, mental health concerns, death or incapacitation, for example.
If the grandparent can demonstrate that it is in the child’s best interest to be placed with them, the court may consider granting custody to them. Also, in some situations the child’s parent will voluntarily agree to allow the grandparent to have custody of the child.
Best interests of the child
When the court decides custody, it will consider factors like the child’s emotional and physical well-being, their social connections through school and the community, the child’s relationship with the grandparent and whether the grandparent can provide for the child’s needs such as shelter, food, clothing and healthcare.
The grandparent can file a petition with the court in the county where the child lives. In addition to the petition, they may need to provide additional documentation.
This may include financial documentation, like pay statements or savings information, evidence of their relationship with the child and information about any times the child has lived with the grandparent previously.
The child’s parents must be notified, and they will have an opportunity to respond during a court hearing. They can either agree to the arrangement or they can contest it.
If the court determines that the grandparent should have custody, it will issue an order that will specify the grandparent’s rights and responsibilities.