Grandparents Rights

Grandparents Rights Lawyers in Dothan

Dothan attorneys advising grandparents on their rights

While the Code of Alabama provides grandparents in Alabama rights of visitation with their grandchildren, Alabama’s Courts have held this law unconstitutional in situations where the parents object to the visitation.  This legislation, passed in 2010 gives grandparents visitation rights even when the parents oppose.  However, the Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling apparently overruling this grandparent favored legislation.

The Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling stating parents have the right to make decisions involving their children such as whether to allow grandparents to visit with their children.  The Alabama Supreme Court has now followed the Supreme Court’s lead in finding the 2010 Alabama legislation unconstitutional as a violation of parents’ rights to raise their children.  The Court held that as long as the parents still maintain their parental status, they get to determine who has contact with their minor children.

While this ruling appears to limit grandparents in their ability to obtain visitation when parents are living and married and object to the visitation, the statute still allows visitation in some cases under the following circumstances:

  • The grandchild’s parents are divorced;
  • At least one of the grandchild’s parents has died;
  • One of the parents has abandoned the child; or
  • The grandchild was not the product of a marriage.

In such circumstances, the judge may hold a hearing at which they will hear evidence of the following questions in making a determination as to whether allow grandparent visitation:

  • Do the grandparents help strengthen the relationship between the minor children and the parents?
  • What type of influence will the grandparents have on the grandchildren?
  • How much time have the children historically spent with the grandparents?
  • What is the health of the grandparents?
  • What are the wishes of the parents, and why?
  • What are the grandchild’s wishes, and why?

The most important question the judge must answer is, “What is in the best interests of the children?”  If the grandparents show that visitation with them is in the best interests of the child, there is a good chance visitation will be ordered.

Are you a grandparent seeking visitation with your grandchildren? Let the family law attorneys at the Dothan office of Parkman White, LLP update you on the latest status of this ever-changing area of law.  Contact us today at 334-792-1900.