The bonds between grandparents and grandchildren are formed by nature but are not always protected by law. A grandparent’s rights may change dramatically if there is a death, divorce, marriage or adoption in the family. Grandparents must determine their eligibility for court-ordered visitation rights in Alabama courts.
Visitation rights for grandparents
A grandparent, who is determined by biology or by adoption, has a natural right to develop a close relationship with a grandchild. This family member has the right to obtain court-ordered visitation rights to visit the child, according to family law. The grandparent must provide clear and convincing evidence that the visits are necessary to reduce harm to the child’s mental, emotional or physical wellbeing.
Filing a case
A grandparent must file a claim in a circuit court where the grandchild lives. He or she has the right to file a motion to prevent a court case that is underway that involves the custody of the grandchild. Grandparents have the right to intervene with a domestic relations case that involves the child’s parent or parents. This includes divorce or legal separation of the parents or the death of one or both parents.
During the termination of parental rights, the grandparents can seek reasonable visitation rights. However, the grandparents’ rights can be terminated if the court permits the child’s adoption by an adoptive parent. The adoptive parent can allow a grandparent’s visitation rights.
Knowing your parental rights in Alabama
Grandparent rights are defined by family laws but must be understood and fought for in court. Not all grandparents will be able to use the law to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren.