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When do grandparents get custody rights?

Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. When parents go through a divorce, it can affect this important relationship, negatively impacting a bond that is beneficial for the kids. In some cases, it is important or necessary for grandparents to seek custody or visitation of their grandkids. 

There are limited circumstances in which grandparents may be able secure visitation or custody rights. Ultimately, the goal of any decision made by a Washington family law court regarding this issue is to protect the best interests of the children above everything else. If you would like to seek custody of your grandchildren, you may want to speak to an experienced family law attorney about the options available to you.

What does the court consider?

Parents may not want their kids to see the grandparents, or parents may be at odds with each other over allowing grandparents to have access. There are also times when seeking custody or visitation may be for the protection and physical well-being of the kids. When grandparents petition the court for custody or visitation, the court will look at various factors to determine if this would be in the best interests of the kids. These include:

  • The wishes of the children
  • The physical ability of the grandparents to care for the kids
  • History of abuse or neglect by the parents
  • The distance between the grandparents and the grandchildren
  • The strength and length of the relationship between grandparents and grandkids
  • The wishes of the parents and grandparents

These are only a few of the factors that may determine whether or not you will be able to secure custody or visitation of your grandkids. The court will strive to ensure that the final decision is good mentally and emotionally for the kids, whether that means allowing the grandparents to have custody or simply granting visitation. 

Fighting for your grandkids

It can be devastating to learn that you will no longer have access to your grandkids. While the courts usually prefer the wishes of the biological parents, there are circumstances in which it is clearly beneficial to allow kids to see their grandparents or even live with them.

If you think you have a valid reason to petition the court regarding these issues, you do not have to do it alone. These are complex and emotionally challenging issues, and you will find significant benefit in working with experienced attorney from the very beginning.

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