Can Grandparents File For Custody?

Posted on: 2 June 2016

There are certain times that grandparents want to file for custody. They may feel they can offer their grandchildren the best life. Is it possible to file for custody? While the short answer is yes, the long answer is that it isn't easy. There are a lot of steps for grandparents to go through with the courts to be awarded custody.

Courts Will Look at Parents First

You may not agree with the way that your grandchild's parents are raising their child, but that does not mean you can just apply for custody. Courts will look at the parents first, and determine whether their care is the best interest of the child. As long as a parent is not neglecting or abusing their children in any way, they have the legal right to raise them.

Most cases of grandparents getting custody are when the parents allow it. They may mutually decide that their children are better with their grandparents, or they may drop their grandchildren off and never return. These situations are usually considered temporary, and in many cases, the grandparents will not have full legal responsibility.

Proving Grandparents Are the Best Option

To get custody, grandparents will need to prove that care with them is the best interest for the children. This is often due to physical abuse, neglect or some sort of substance abuse. The grandparents need to prove that the children's parents are unfit or unable to care. In some cases, it can be due to medical conditions in the parents that lead to grandparents being the better options.

In the event of the death of parents, grandparents can file for and gain custody. However, the position of a legal guardian is usually stated within the wills of the parents and these will be taken into account.

Grandparents will need to get legal counsel to get custody of their grandchildren. There are many steps to go through and various documents to sign and send away. An attorney will also be able to ensure the best case is put forward to show the parents' care is not in the best interest of the children.

It is possible for grandparents to file for custody, but the courts will look carefully at the parents. This is not just due to relationship breakdowns between the grandparents and their own children or due to divorce. Courts will want to leave children with their own parents unless there is a reason the grandparents will be better caregivers. Like with most laws and court procedures, this will all depend on the state. Contact local professionals, such as those from, for further assistance.