You have a very special relationship with your grandchildren. You love them, support them and you try to maintain an active role in their lives. In some cases, you may feel like it is your duty to take care of them all of the time, and that may mean trying to seek custody. This can be a very difficult undertaking for adults who are not the biological parents of the kids.
If the parent is unfit in any way, you may find it necessary to step in and fight to protect the best interests of your grandkids. When considering a case involving grandparent custody, the court will look at various factors to determine what is best for the kids. Seeking custody will not be an easy process, and you will find it beneficial to work with an experienced Washington attorney at every step.
What do the courts consider?
Courts always give preference to the concerns of the parents. If there is evidence that the parents may be unfit, it is likely the court will prefer the children to be with family, giving you a chance of securing custody. A parent may be unfit if there is evidence of abuse, neglect, drug use or other serious concerns that affect the safety of the kids. When determining what is truly in the best interests of the children, the courts will look at the following factors:
- The preferences of the parents
- The wishes of the children
- The capability of the grandparents to take care of the kids
- The physical and emotional health of the child
- The strength of the relationship between the grandparent and child
- Any evidence of abuse or neglect from the grandparents or parents
- The distance between the grandparents and grandchildren
- The length of the relationship between the grandchildren and grandparents
The court’s main concern is protecting the children above all else. If you think you have a valid claim to custody of your grandchildren, you would be wise not to undertake this on your own.
Custody and visitation rights
You may not have a claim to custody rights, but you may want to pursue visitation rights instead if you are no longer able to see your grandkids and be a part of their lives. The court will look at the same factors when determining whether grandparents should have regular access to their grandkids. Whether you want to seek custody or visitation, you will find it beneficial to discuss your goals with an experienced family law attorney.