Can grandparents have rights to minor children? 22 Answers as of August 31, 2011

Does the state recognize grandparents as having rights to minor children? The mother is in drug rehab and the grandmother is refusing the father's right to see the child. Nobody has custody at this point. Do we file for custody with the grandmother and mother or just mother?

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Vermeulen Law office P.A.
Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
You need to speak with an attorney. There are a myriad of issues that need to be addressed in this question.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/31/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Just the mother. Also, as for rights, few states give grandparents any rights. Texas is one of the most strict on this issue. A grandparent gets his/her rights through their own child (the parent of the grandchild) they have no rights of their own.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/30/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
If a court has not determined custody for the grandparents, only the mother has presumptive custody. As a result, the mother would be served with any action.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 8/29/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
If the parents are still living, then a court custody battle is between the parents. The father needs to file for custody. Was the child born out of wedlock? If so, has paternity been established by a court order or affidavit of Parentage (not to be confused with a birth certificate). If not, then this must be taken care of before the father can even think about custody. Otherwise, you might try filing for guardianship of the child, but if you are the parents of the father, then paternity will need to be established to show you’re in equal priority to the other grandmother.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/29/2011
Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
If the Grandparents have not been given custodial rights from a court, you would file a petition against the mother only. I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    A petition must be filed against the granparents as well as the mother.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Yes, grandparents may be awarded custody rights if a Virginia court decides it is in the minor child's best interests. In the situation described the father should petition the local J&DR court for custody of his child. The petition for custody is filed with the court and not the grandmother or the mother. (The mother should be named as the respondent party in the petition.) Absent a valid court order, this grandmother has no rights whatsoever with respect to this child.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    Sounds like you need to file for guardianship.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    If the mother is incapable of caring for the child and if the father is suitable he should be the first choice to take custody. If the mother has not had her rights terminated or her child taken into custody by DHS and the grandmother does not have legal guardianship, which you would have had to be given notice of a hearing, the father's rights here are superior. If the parents were never married the father needs to file a Petition for Paternity but before that he should file for emergency guardianship pending the establishment of legal paternity. If the parents were married and his wife was given custody he needs to file for an Ex Parte Emergency Change of Custody.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Generally, no. Only the mother could file to get parental rights decided by the court. Unless a grandparent has been a primary caretaker for at least six months, a petition by a grandparent for parental rights against a parent is not even allowed. Parents have constituional rights that trump grandparents if everything else is equal. Judges make decisions based on what is in the child's best interest and, usually, what is best is thatchild live with a parent.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/29/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    In IL grandparents don't have "rights" they have "privileges." If you are seeking custody, you are petitioning the court for custody based upon the fact that you are the father (parent) and the mother is not a fit parent. If you can prove this - based upon the Best Interest of the Child Standard, custody will be granted to you.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/28/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    File for custody. From your facts, it would be father v. mother.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    The Father and Mother are the only ones with rights to the child subject to a contrary order.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    No. In general, in the state of Washington, grandparents do not have any special rights or position. The parents are the ones with all of the authority. Therefore, in a contest between one of the parents and the grandparents over custody of a child, the grandparents are likely to lose. The exception to this is if the grandparents convince the court that both parents are unfit. This, however, if hard to do.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    The child's father should file a petition for paternity and a motion to establish custody and visitation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    You can apply to Probate Court or Superior Court depending on what you are seeking. Here is some information you may find useful:
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    I'm not sure I understand the question, but generally speaking, a parent's rights are superior to a grandparent's rights. If there are court orders permitting Father to have access to the child, he should enforce those. If there are no court orders, then Father should file an action to establish his rights.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    If you are the father, and given that you said there are no prior custody orders, and as well, that the grandmother is preventing you from having visitation with your child, then when you file a motion to establish custody/visitation rights, you should serve mother as the "respondent." It would be best to call a local family law lawyer for assistance. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    The father or grandparents can file for custody or they can both file and the Court will decide who gets custody.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/27/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Your message did not spell out your situation very clearly, but if the parents are married then father has to file for divorce and ask for custody and if they are mot married, the father needs to file a legitimation petition and ask for custody. If they are married to each other then they currently have equal custodial rights until a court order says otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/27/2011
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