People often think of custody battles as occurring only between parents who are divorcing, or maybe even between biological and adoptive parents. Usually people don’t think about Grandparents or Godparents being involved, but both of these situations are possible. In cases where parents have voluntarily relinquished custody, or custody has been stripped due to unfitness, or even if the parents are no longer living, it’s very common for Grandparents to be the legal guardians of children. But children may also have very strong ties to Godparents. What happens if someone needs to establish custody of children and the most appropriate people available for the job are either Grandparents or Godparents?
What are Grandparent Rights?
According to About Parenting, the court might give “reasonable companionship or visitation rights” to grandparents or to “any person related to the child by consanguinity or affinity” and should consider factors including but not limited to the following:
- The desires of the parents as made known to the court
- The child’s involvement with parents and others in the extended family
- The physical whereabouts of the grandparent’s home and how far it is from the child’s residence
- How much time the children and parents have available, including work schedules, school, holidays and vacations
- The age of the child(ren)
- How well the child is adjusting at home and school and in the community
- Any desires of the child, as made known in chambers
- The safety and health of the child
- And others
Grandparents and Custody
In general, the Court will not award child custody to a Grandparent unless it has been proven that both parents are deemed unfit or unable to safely care for the health and well being of the child. If the Grandparent is able to prove this, and that the best interests of the children are for them to be placed in the custody of the Grandparent. This kind of litigation can be emotionally and financially trying, but the good news is that the state of Ohio does have provisions allowing grandparents both custody and visitation of their grandchildren.
What about Godparents?
As difficult as it can be for Grandparents to be awarded custody, it can be even more challenging for Godparents to receive custody of minor children, especially if they are of no blood relation to the children. Contact a qualified grandparents rights attorney in your area like the Law Offices of William L. Geary today.
Can Grandparents be Godparents?
Yes, a grandparent can be the godparent of a child as long as they are at least 16 years of age, a confirmed Catholic who has received the Eucharist, not under any canonical penalty, and not the parent of the child. Canon law does not prohibit this.