Grandparents often have a strong bond with their grandchildren. If grandparents discover that their grandchild is being neglected or abused by a parent or parents, grandparents in Georgia have the right to file for custody.
If a parent is physically or sexually abusing a child, removing the child from that household is often in the best interests of the child.
Neglect can mean that a parent has abandoned the child (sometimes in the care of grandparents). Additionally, a child is considered neglected if a parent fails to provide adequate care, or if a parent has an alcohol or drug addiction. An alternative custodian is in the best interests of that neglected child.
Georgia Custody Law
In a custody dispute, Georgia courts do give preference to a child's natural parents. However, a judge will determine custody based on a "best interests of the child" standard and, in cases of abuse and neglect, a natural parent may not be the best custodian.
Where a child has been abused or neglected, in Georgia the child's grandparents have the right to file for custody. If a child must be removed from her natural parents' custody, it is beneficial for her to be placed with her grandparents, especially where the parties share a strong bond.
Factors Examined by the Court
If grandparents file for custody, the court will grant the request if: letting the child remain with her parents would be harmful and allowing the grandparents to raise the child will be in her best interest, especially with regard to happiness, health and welfare.