Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Alabama?

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For many children, their grandparents play an important role in their development and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, there are some situations where the child’s parents can deny visits by the grandparents. Often, grandparents wonder if they have any legal recourse to the parents’ decision. In some situations, they can challenge these denials in the courts. If you are facing visitation issues or want to learn more about grandparents’ visitation rights in Alabama, here are a few facts to consider for your case.

Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Alabama

While grandparents are not explicitly entitled to any visitation rights in the state, there are still a few legal options to pursue. Family law courts often defer visitation decisions to the parents, meaning they have the right to deny grandparents any visitation. If the parent does not want the child to visit the grandparents, the court presumes it is in the child’s best interest.

The Alabama Code § 30-3-4.2 outlines grandparents’ visitation rights. Within the statute, parents have a protected right to deny visitation with a grandparent, but there are a few situations where a grandparent can challenge that denial.

Filing a Petition for Visitation Rights

Grandparents can file a petition to the courts for visitation based on several grounds, such as:

  • The child’s parents have divorced.
  • One or both parents are deceased.
  • The child was abandoned by one or both parents.
  • The child was born out of wedlock.
  • The grandparents were denied visitation rights in the past.

Generally, the Alabama courts do not intervene in these cases if the parents are married unless they have denied the grandparents visitation in the past. While the court typically upholds the parents’ decision, the grandparents must make a case that the child would be “harmed” if they could not see them. Generally, the judge will decide based on:

  • The mental and physical health of the child
  • The domestic situation of the household
  • The child’s preference
  • The grandparents’ willingness to support a relationship between them and their child

Additionally, the grandparents need to show that the child’s physical, emotional, and mental well-being would suffer if they were denied visitation.

Grandparents can only file a petition once every 24 months. For that reason, many grandparents will file separately on an individual basis. If one grandparent’s petition is rejected, then the other grandparent can file a separate petition, hoping they can make a stronger case in the courts.

Learn More About Grandparents Visitation Rights from a Family Law Attorney in Alabama

Grandparents’ visitation rights in Alabama can be complicated. While many of these cases defer the decision to the parent, there are times when the grandparents can petition the courts for visits. If you have questions about your visitation rights, you need a family law attorney to help answer them.

With over 55 years of combined experience focusing on family law services, The Hankey Law Firm can assist you with your grandparents’ visitation rights and all other family law needs. We provide personalized representation to the residents of Cullman County, Blount County, Winston County, Madison County, Morgan County, and everywhere else across the great state of Alabama.

Contact us or call (256) 736-8744 so that we can start assessing your case. Schedule your confidential consultation today.