Lawyer for Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Alabama

The grandparents of a child in Alabama have visitation rights regarding that child in most cases and can ask the court to uphold that right if the child’s parents deny access. Grandparents may seek visitation rights if a divorce occurs, a parent dies, the grandchild was born out of wedlock or the parental rights of the mother or father have been terminated.

A child’s parents are the ultimate authority under Alabama law for how the child will be raised. But when a child’s grandparents must ask the courts for access to their grandchildren, Alabama law requires “an enhanced standard of review and consideration of the harm to a child” caused by the parents’ limitation or termination of that relationship.

At Leigh Daniel Family Law, our Huntsville child visitation lawyers are dedicated to upholding grandparent visitation rights in the state of Alabama. Our attorneys are experienced in:

  • Negotiating acceptable grandparents’ visitation agreements informally or through mediation.
  • Arguing for grandparents’ visitation rights before a judge.
  • Pursuing modifications to grandparents’ visitation agreements when circumstances change.

Concerned about a child of yours or an in-law keeping you away from your grandchildren? Arguing to maintain that special relationship a grandparent has with their grandchildren can be highly distressing and frustrating. Our attorneys are supportive and want to help reduce your stress and keep you focused on a positive outcome.

Contact an experienced Huntsville child visitation lawyer now. Our attorneys have more than 20 years of experience fighting for families throughout Northern Alabama. Call us now for a grandparents’ rights consultation: (256) 692-1275.

To consult with an experienced grandparents’ visitation rights lawyer serving Alabama, call (256) 551-0500

Understanding Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Alabama

Rear view of loving grandparents holding hands with their granddaughter, walking down a scenic park pathway, illustrating family support and generational bonding in a natural setting.Alabama law allows a child’s parents to limit or deny access to the child by the child’s grandparents. The child’s grandparents can challenge that decision under certain circumstances and seek reasonable visitation rights. But the court must presume that a fit parent’s decision to deny or limit visitation is in the child’s best interest. This puts the burden on the grandparent to prove their case for visitation rights.

Under the law (AL Code § 30-3-4.2 (2022)), an Alabama family law court is to grant petitioning grandparents time with a grandchild if the court finds that a child will suffer harm from the lack of an ongoing relationship with grandparents.

The court must find that harm will occur if clear and convincing evidence shows that without court-ordered visitation by the grandparents, the child’s emotional, mental, or physical well-being has been or could reasonably be jeopardized.

To obtain a finding of harm, grandparents must establish by clear and convincing evidence that both of the following are true:

  • The grandparent has established a significant and viable relationship with the child for whom he or she is requesting visitation.
  • Visitation with the grandparents is in the child’s best interest.

To establish that there is a significant and viable relationship with the child, the grandparent must prove by clear and convincing evidence any of the following:

  • The child lived with the grandparent for at least six consecutive months with or without a parent present within the three years preceding the visitation petition.
  • The grandparent was the child’s caregiver on a regular basis for at least six consecutive months within the three years preceding the visitation petition.
  • The grandparent had frequent contact with the child for at least 12 consecutive months, which resulted in a strong and meaningful relationship with the child within the three years preceding the visitation petition.
  • Any other facts that establish the loss of the relationship between the petitioner and the child is likely to harm the child.

To establish that grandparent visitation serves the child’s best interest, the grandparent must prove all of the following:

  • The grandparent has the capacity to give the child love, affection, and guidance.
  • The loss of an opportunity of the grandparent to maintain a significant relationship with the child has caused or is likely to cause harm to the child.
  • The grandparent is willing to cooperate with the parent or parents if visitation with the child is allowed.
Alabama Grandparents’ Visitation Rights Lawyer Near Me (256) 551-0500

Criteria for Grandparents to Seek Visitation or Custody

Grandparents in Alabama may seek reasonable visitation rights regarding their grandchildren if any of the following circumstances exist:

  • The child’s parents have divorced, or one has filed for divorce or separation
  • One or both parents have died
  • The child was born out of wedlock, and the petitioner is a maternal grandparent of the child, or paternity has been legally established, and the petitioner is a paternal grandparent of the child.
  • The parental rights of one or both parents have been terminated by court order, or a legal action to do so has been filed against one or both parents.

A grandparent may file a petition at any time it is necessary to have their grandparent visitation rights established, including when the court is already considering a child custody petition, such as during a divorce.

If the child is adopted, the grandparents’ visitation rights terminate, unless the child is adopted by certain family member(s).

For a grandparent to obtain custody of a grandchild, the grandparent must persuade a judge that neither of the child’s biological parents is capable of raising the child. A grandparent may also petition for custody of a grandchild if both the child’s parents have died. In any case, the court will base its decisions primarily on what is in the best interest of the child.

Click to contact our Alabama Grandparents’ Visitation Rights Lawyer today

Emergency Custody of a Child in Alabama

You may seek emergency custody of your grandchild if he or she has been abandoned or needs emergency protection because he or she or a sibling or one of their parents is being abused or threatened with harm.

Obtaining emergency custody of a child requires petitioning the court and going before a judge to explain why you believe the child is in danger.

At this special hearing, immediate emergency custody is the only matter that will be considered. You will need to present evidence of the danger, such as a police domestic violence report. You must be ready to justify the protection needed, such as temporarily awarding sole custody to a grandparent and prohibiting all contact with an abusive or otherwise unfit parent.

If a grandparent is awarded emergency custody, the court will schedule a hearing for permanent custody orders.

Leigh Daniel Family Law can help you petition for emergency custody of your grandchild and build your case for permanent custody if this is what is best for the child. Let an experienced grandparents’ rights attorney do the paperwork and courtroom pleading for you so you can devote your primary attention to your grandchild’s needs.

Click to contact our Alabama Grandparents’ Visitation Rights Attorney today

Helping You File for Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in Alabama

A child visitation lawyer with Leigh Daniel Family Law can help you persuade the court that it is in the child’s best interest for you and your grandchild to spend time together. We will:

  • Ensure the paperwork is filed to petition the court to uphold your visitation rights.
  • Gather evidence of your relationship with your grandchild. This may include sworn statements and testimony from witnesses, as well as photos of you with your grandchild, cards, letters, emails, and texts exchanged between you and your grandchild. If your grandchild is old and/or mature enough, the judge may ask them about your relationship.
  • Obtain medical exams or medical records to indicate your capacity to maintain your relationship with your grandchild.
  • Prepare you to speak to a judge about:
    • Your role in your grandchild’s life
    • The relationship between you and your grandchild
  • Present your case in court and rebut or mitigate any assertions or evidence against you.

When possible, we will help you settle your dispute with your grandchild’s parent(s) through mediation or collaborative law.

In mediation, a neutral third party works with the parties to facilitate a settlement. An agreement reached through mediation is not binding, but mediation can help you avoid a public court battle as well as further legal costs.

In collaborative law, each party and their respective attorneys agree that they will make every effort to come to an agreement that works for both parties without going to court. If the parties cannot reach an agreement and one or both parties decide to proceed to court, the process ends, and each party will be required to hire new lawyers and start over. In collaborative law, the potential lost time and expense provide an incentive to come to an agreement.

We will stand by you throughout the visitation rights petition process and provide you with the assistance of our respected, experienced, and knowledgeable family law attorneys. We can help you build a strong case that it is in your grandchild’s best interest for you to remain a part of their life.

Call or text (256) 551-0500 or submit our Consultation Request form today

Get Legal Advice from Our Child Custody and Visitation Attorneys

Leigh Daniel, Huntsville family law attorney in her office in Huntsville, ALAlabama law says a fit parent’s decision regarding whether to permit grandparent visitation carries special weight due to a parent’s fundamental right to make decisions concerning the rearing of his or her child. However, the State of Alabama also balances the constitutional rights of parents and children by imposing an enhanced standard of review and consideration of the harm to a child caused by the parent’s limitation of a prior relationship of a child with his or her grandparent.

If you are being barred from spending time with your grandchildren without reason, our attorney can help you seek visitation rights. Contact our dedicated Huntsville child visitation lawyers today to discuss how our compassionate team can help you convince the court that allowing visitation with your grandchild serves the child’s best interests. Contact us online now for a consultation or phone (256) 692-1275.