There are few relationships in life as special as the relationship between grandparent and grandchild.

But what happens when the relationship between grandparents and parents break down? Can parents prevent a grandparent from having a relationship with a grandchild?

There are three different ways that a grandparent can have a court-ordered relationship with a grandchild. The first is adoption, which is only possible when both parent’s parental rights have been terminated by a court or where both parents have passed away.

A grandparent may also file a suit requesting possession of the grandchild. The grandparent must prove that the child’s physical health or emotional well-being will be “significantly impaired” if the grandchild cannot visit with the grandparent. This high burden is only likely to be satisfied when the grandparent has been so involved in the child’s life that removal of the grandparent would be traumatic.

Finally, a grandparent may file suit for custody of a grandchild in one of two situations:

  1. The grandchild has lived with the grandparent for at least 6 months.
  2. The child’s physical health or emotional well-being will be “significantly impaired” if the grandparent is not awarded custody. In the first case, the grandparent only has to prove that it would be in the child’s best interest for the grandparent to be awarded custody. The second type of case can be brought by any grandparent, no matter where the child lives; however, the grandparent essentially has to prove that the child is in danger.

Grandparents’ rights cases are difficult but certainly not impossible, and we have successfully handled dozens.

Concerned about your relationship with your grandchild and want to discuss your options?


Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.