Child custody for grandparents becomes relevant in the case of death, separation or divorce of the parents. It also becomes applicable if the child has lived with the grandparents for a certain time period before the petition for custody is submitted at the court.
The child custody laws vary between different states in the US. The court may grant partial or full custody of the child. In certain cases, only visitation rights may be granted.
Child custody can be broadly divided into two categories – physical or legal custody. Physical custody determines where the child would live and also with whom he or she would spend most of the time. If joint custody is granted, one of the parents will be responsible for the primary physical custody of the child, while the other parent will be granted only visitation rights. This parent is called non-custodial parent. Legal custody deals with who will take major decisions on the child’s life like education or health care.
If the grandparents have already assumed primary care of the child for a minimum of one year and are able to prove that the biological parents of the child have not taken adequate care, the court can take the decision of giving the entire child custody rights to the grandparent. This is also applicable if the child suffers neglect or abuse while living with his parents. The case is stronger if there is a previous court order of child custody given to the grandparents with the consent of the biological parents.
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