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Grandparents Visitation Rights In Alabama: An Overview


The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is exceptional. When there is a dispute about a grandparent being able to see their grandchildren, in some situations, grandparents can petition to have visitation in Alabama. 

Grandparents often act as a part of a support system. They provide a safe and happy place for their grandchildren, especially when the parents are struggling or going through life challenges and changes.

Family structures and relationships can change or become more complex, and one or both parents may decide to keep grandparents away from their children. However, this can be emotionally devastating for the children and grandparents. This article will go over the grandparents’ visitation rights in Alabama.

Factors That Affect Grandparents Visitation Rights In Alabama

In Alabama, grandparents are not automatically granted visitation rights. Generally, Alabama courts will defer to the parents to decide what is in the best interest of their children. However, there are circumstances when an Alabama court may grant grandparent visitation.

When a parent chooses to isolate their child from the grandparents, the court presumes the choice is in the child’s best interest. As the grandparent, you can petition the court for visitation rights and have the opportunity to offer proof and demonstrate why the parents are not acting in the child’s best interest.

The court will not allow visitation if there are hidden dangers to the child’s physical health or emotional development. The judge will consider the following factors:

  • If the child is old enough, the judge will consider the children’s preference
  • When the grandparent is willing and able to encourage a close relationship between the parents and their child
  • The children’s physical and mental health
  • If there’s any domestic violence in the home, either against the child or the other parent
  • If the grandparent and children have an established relationship
  • If, in the past parent has given up custody of the child physically, emotionally, or financially
  • All of the living parent’s wishes
  • Any other factors that may be relevant to the custody decision

Grounds For A Grandparent To File A Petition For Visitation Rights In Alabama

Several circumstances under which a grandparent can petition the court for visitation rights to see and spend time with your grandchild. However, grandparents can only request visitation once every 24 months. Should another grandparent request visitation, it will not prevent a different grandparent from filing for visitation within the same two-year time frame.

  • The children’s parents are divorced or getting a divorce in Alabama
  • One or both of the parents of the children have died
  • The child has been abandoned by one or both of the parents
  • The children were born to unmarried parents; and
  • One or both parents or adoptive parents have kept the children and grandparents from having a relationship and staying in contact.

Suppose the grandchild’s parents are currently married. In that case, the court will most likely avoid intervening and giving a grandparent visitation rights unless the parents have previously withheld visitation to the grandparents.

Whenever children are adopted by another relative, including a brother, sister, uncle, aunt or half-sibling, or another grandparent, the natural grandparents can petition to request visitation rights.

Can Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Be Revoked Or Changed In Alabama?

Once every 24 months, a parent can ask the court to amend or revoke the grandparent’s visitation rights unless the grandparent has been abusive to the children. Any time a parent asks the court to modify the custody order, the judge will consider the children’s relationship with all significant parties in the children’s lives, including the grandparents.

The judge will also consider how often the grandparents have visited the children and the extent of their relationship. When a parent and the children are moving closer to the grandparents, the judge will consider this, and the children need a support system in the new location.

Can Grandparents Be Granted A Custody Of A Grandchild In Alabama?

Alabama courts will grant grandparents primary custody of their grandchild in certain situations. An example would be if the children’s physical and mental health significantly improved after temporarily living with the grandparents rather than the parent with mental health or substance abuse issues. However, this is only for extreme cases when the parent or parents are unfit to have custody of the children.

Grandparents may be granted custody when evidence is shown that Both parents suffer from drug addiction and mental illness and make no effort to rehabilitate themselves, even when faced with the possibility of losing custody of their children. Another alternative is that it is also a possibility that the court will grant custody to one grandparent and visitation to another grandparent.

Brackin Law Will Help You Create A Child Custody And Visitation Plan

Whether you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights, a married couple going through a divorce, or want to modify and update your existing child custody and visitation schedule, we are here to help you. We understand the complex family court system and the significant emotional challenges of navigating child custody and visitations. 

At Brackin Law, we have extensive experience in family law, criminal law, estate planning, and elder law and strive to help our clients reach their goals and ideal resolutions. Contact us today for a consultation, and we will get to work defending your rights and your family.

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