Petitions for Visitation or Custody by Grandparents and Non-Parents
Grandparents do not have any inherent legal right to visitation with, or custody of, their grandchildren if the biological parents are capable of providing adequate care. However, grandparents and other relatives can petition for child custody under certain circumstances when it is in the child's best interests.
If you have been cut off from your grandchildren, or if you are requesting custody to rescue a child from abuse or neglect, Clement Law Center can assess your situation and represent you if you need to institute legal proceedings to protect the children. We practice in the Seattle/Tacoma area and have handled grandparent and non-parent custody cases throughout the state of Washington. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Federal Way Grandparents' Rights Attorneys
A Washington State case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling on grandparents' rights. This federal case overturned a state statute that authorized courts to order visitation for grandparents. The U.S. Supreme Court reasoned that the state law was so invasive to the rights of custodial parents that it amounted to a violation of their constitutional rights.
Many grandparents, discouraged by this case, have wrongly concluded that they are powerless to help their grandchildren when the biological parents are unable to properly care for their children due to drugs, alcohol or emotional illness. These grandparents are often the only hope their grandkids have for stable custodians. The grandparents in these situations should not give up.
- These custody disputes often arise with divorced or unmarried parents. Grandparents will often have access to the grandchildren during their own son or daughter's residential time.
- Grandparents whose adult child is called to military duty may be able to obtain designation by court order to exercise the visitation rights with their grandchild.
- Grandparents can also petition for custody on their own, when the biological parents are simply unable or unwilling to provide appropriate care for the children.
Petitions for Non-parental Custody
In certain circumstances, a court may grant custody to grandparents, aunts, uncles, adult siblings or other interested parties. To petition for non-parental custody, you must assert that both parents have abandoned the child or are unfit because of abuse, neglect, addictions or mental illness. Clement Law Center has successfully sued for custody on behalf of grandparents and others, usually when they have already been sheltering and providing for the child. Obtaining formal custody allows the grandparents or relatives to act on the child's behalf regarding education, health care and other official matters.
Contact Clement Law Center to arrange a free, initial consultation. Call 253-336-3607 or 888-351-6779, or e-mail us.