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What Are Grandparent Visitation Rights in Georgia?

by Sharon Jackson  on February 20, 2022 under 

Parents have the legal right to make decisions about the care and well-being of their children. When a marriage is ended by divorce, or if the parents were never married, custody and visitation of minor children often become a dispute between the parents. Sadly, co-parenting disputes can result in a child's grandparents not being able to see their grandchild. In other families, parents may decide jointly that they do not want their children to have contact with their grandparents. When a child's biological grandparents are not permitted to visit their grandchild, they may decide to ask a court for legal grandparent visitation rights. In the state of Georgia, grandparent visitation rights can be legally be protected in many instances. Visitation is when a court grants someone the right to regular visits with a minor child.

Grandparent Visitation Rights in Georgia

Georgia, like all states, has addressed grandparent visitation rights in state law, but the laws vary considerably from state to state. Since 2012 Georgia has had legislation friendly to grandparents who want legally granted visitation with grandchildren, and provides for decisions to be made "in the best interest of the child." Georgia grandparents cannot sue for visitation of children who live with both parents.

The Georgia Grandparents Visitation Statute encourages a relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, provided it is in "the best interest of the child:

“It is the express policy of this state to encourage that a child has continuing contact with parents and grandparents who have shown the ability to act in the best interest of the child and to encourage parents to share in the rights and responsibilities of raising their child after such parents have separated or dissolved their marriage or relationship.”  

Grandparents can sue for visitation rights in Georgia in two ways:

  1. Grandparents may file a court action for visitation with their grandchild once every two years.
  2. Grandparents can join an already existing court action such as a divorce petition, adoption by a stepparent or family member, or a termination of parental rights.
    1. In cases involving a legally adopted child who is not legally adopted by either biological parent, Georgia law does not grant visitation rights to the biological grandparents.

Key Issues in Determining Grandparent Visitation Rights: 

  • Will the child be physically or emotionally harmed if they do not have regular contact with their grandparents?
    • Did the child live with the grandparents for 6 or more months?
    • Did the grandparents financially support the child?
    • Has the child regularly visited the grandparents?
  • Are the grandparents actively involved in the child's life?
  • Do the grandparents have a good relationship with both parents?
  • Are the children at risk in the grandparents' care?
  • Are the grandparents physically and mentally fit to care for the child?

If a grandparent is granted visitation rights, Georgia law allows the child's parent or legal guardian the right to ask the court to revoke or amend a grandparent's visitation for good cause.

Grandparent Rights Organizations

There are several groups dedicated to protecting the rights of grandparents and grandchildren, many founded by grandparents who advocate on behalf of all grandparents facing visitation and custody issues with their grandchildren:

Do You Have Questions About Grandparent Visitation Rights in Georgia?

The reality is that most people will face at least one difficult family law legal situation such as the end of a marriage or a custody dispute with the other parent or grandparent. To talk with an experienced Georgia grandparent rights lawyer, contact Family Law Attorney Sharon Jackson today by completing the Case Review form or call at (678) 436-3636

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