As a parent, one of the biggest joys in life is seeing your child have their own. Alabama law sides with parents when it comes to granting, reducing or denying visitation with grandchildren. If your relationship with one or both of the parents is strained, spending time with your grandchildren after their parents have divorced can be uncomfortable. Fighting for visitation is common amongst parents, but can be applied to other cases where family members wish to remain connected.
A qualifying relationship
When it comes to having a relationship with your grandchildren, defining the connection you share seems obvious. However, petitioning to see them requires that grandparents demonstrate the validity of the relationship in a quantifiable amount. Within the state laws a legitimate relationship constitutes the following:
- Grandchild lived with the grandparent without a parent for a period of at least six months
- A grandparent providing child care for a grandchild for a period of at least six months
- Having "frequent or regular" contact with the child for at least 12 months
When can you petition for visitation?
Grandparents can petition for visitation of their grandchildren if;
- The children's parents have filed for divorce
- If the children were born out of wedlock
- Parents' relationship has been severed by death
- One of both of the parents' parental rights were terminated
Putting it to the test
Not only does Alabama require that grandparents use time as a form to measure the authenticity of a relationship between adult and child, additionally the kinship must be deemed as "significant and viable." Further, grandparents must prove that continuing to strengthen the bond is in the child's best interest. The law asserts that the grandparent must show that the loss of a relationship is likely to cause harm to the child.
The court considers several factors when it comes to determining whether visitation rights will be granted. From the physical and mental wellbeing of the child to their grandparent's willingness to promote a continued relationship with the child’s parent, creating the best environment for the child is always the priority when deciding who can and can not be a part of their of lives.