Grandparents Rights To Visitation

grandparents rightsIt’s not uncommon for a grandparent’s access to their grandchildren to be thwarted by divorce and even family disputes. The issue of grandparents’ rights to visitation was recently heard by the Alabama Supreme Court in a case where the grandparents’ rights were declined even when the grandchild’s parents were still married.

The married couple denied the grandparents’ access to the child on account of a business dispute. The grandparents sued for regular access to the grandchildren and successfully won visitation rights.

However, when the parents appealed the judgment in the Alabama Supreme Court, the decision was reversed. This reversal occurred because, according to the court, the parents’ right to raise their children may not be undercut by a judge in a visitation rights case unless a judge has already determined that the parents were “unfit.”

However, certain contingencies indicate that grandparents do, in fact, have visitation rights. Cordell & Cordell Atlanta Divorce Attorney Andrea Johnson stresses that even though grandparents don’t have immediate visitation rights, they do have the right to ask the court for visitation.

A visitation action can only be filed when the parents are unmarried or divorced. The grandparents must also show evidence that the health or welfare of the child is at risk unless this visitation is granted.

Grandparents are limited to filing no more than one visitation action in a two-year period. Parents can file to reverse this action once in a two-year period.

Read Related Article: Denying Fathers Rights To Visitation

According to a article on grandparents’ rights, all states do not recognize these rights. For example, in Missouri, many factors determine if a court will grant visitation rights to grandparents:

  • The parents have divorced.
  • One parent is deceased and the other denies their visitation rights.
  • The child lives with the grandparent for at least six months within a 2-year time period of filing.
  • The grandparent has been denied visitation for more than 90 days without reason.
  • The child is adopted by a stepparent, another grandparent or other blood relative.

Even then, the court will question the measures the grandparents have taken to exercise their rights, and the court may consult with the child to determine the best interest of the child.

If you would like to inquire about grandparents rights in your state, please contact a Cordell & Cordell lawyer near you.

By Tara Brewer

Special to

Cordell and Cordell


  1. Tim Johnston Says: June 19, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Grandparents should have rights!

    Imagine getting older and having a grandchild and in your golden years you have free time to love and nourish the young ones lives and to shower them with endless memories and to be a positive role model in their upbringing.

    Not to mention the Childs mental health.
    I live in Japan and my Parents have never seen my son because of my ex wives refusal. She doesn’t even give me proper access to my only son.

    The Laws need to change. Parents have rights and Grandparents need to have rights!

    Tim Johnston Japan
    Kai Endo Japan

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