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Best interests of a child and grandparent custody

When a court considers custody options for a child, it is primarily concerned with the child's best interests above the rights or many of the preferences of parents and other guardians. In many cases, a court may even consider the wishes of the child in a ruling. This does not mean that parents and others in the child's life have no say in the custody of a child: in fact, quite the opposite. Most courts prefer for families to work together to create a custody plan that puts the child's needs first.

If you are a grandparent concerned about how a divorce or separation may affect your relationship with your grandchild, you may have legal grounds to request custody or visitation rights in court. In many instances, courts recognize the value grandparents offer many children, and may prove willing to grant you legal visitation or even primary custody of your grandchild, depending on the circumstances.

Sometimes, one parent wishes to cut off the family of the other parent from having a relationship with a child. While there are not always legal grounds to fight this sort of forced separation, any grandparent who faces this possibility should certainly make sure they have no more legal options before simply accepting this heartbreak.

When families split, whether through divorce, separation or death, it is rarely easy to meet each party's needs. However, the stability and mature presence that grandparents offer grandchildren is a very special relationship that deserves protecting. Don't wait to assess your legal options to ensure that your relationship with the grandchild you love remains preserved throughout this difficult season and for many years to come.

Source: FindLaw, "Factors Considered for Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed Jan. 26, 2018

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