Ventura Child Custody Attorney for Grandparents
Grandparents often take a step back and let their children raise their grandchildren as they see fit. Some grandparents may be more hands-on and demand that their grandchildren be raised a certain way, but they may not have the legal standing to raise them themselves. However, when a parent is unfit, grandparents may be able to step in and take custody of the children.
The Ventura child custody attorneys for grandparents at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth represent grandparents in child custody cases. For help seeking custody of your grandchildren and exercising the legal authority to raise them, contact our law offices today. To schedule a free legal consultation, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.
Custody Rights for Grandparents in California
California law gives a child’s parents the first priority when determining who gets child custody. In most child custody cases, the court will choose between granting the birth parents joint custody or giving sole custody to one of the parents. Unless there is a good reason to consider other adults for child custody, another person’s claim cannot trump the parents’ claims for custody.
Grandparents may be able to insert themselves into this process and win custody of their grandchildren if the parents are unfit to parent. If the grandparent can prove that the parent is a detriment to the children in their care, the court may reconsider custody and grant custody to the grandparent instead of the parent.
To get custody as a grandparent, you must be somewhat involved in your grandchildren’s lives. The law rarely lets a relative come in without a prior relationship and take custody away from the parents. Instead, the court will look to other adults that the children live with or have lived with in the past. This means that if your child and grandchild lived together in your household, you may have already established a good track record of caring for the child in your household. Alternatively, a grandparent acting as a foster parent after the parent loses custody or while the parent is in jail can also help establish the necessary groundwork to get full custody of a grandchild.
Grounds to Get Custody Taken Away from Your Grandchildren’s Parent
To seek custody of your grandchildren usually means you must have the court strip the parents of custody first before you can be granted custody. This is often quite contentious, especially if there is a history of issues between you and your child or the other parent. In many cases, a grandparent may want to strip custody away from the child’s other parent, but it often takes severe mistreat or neglect to convince a parent to try to strip their own child of custody of their grandchildren.
Courts similarly need strong evidence of mistreatment or lack of safety in the child’s life to strip a parent of custody. The following are all examples of the kinds of dangers that a court looks for when stripping a parent of custody:
- A history of abuse against the child, the child’s other parent, or another adult in the household
- A history of drug use, alcoholism, or other substance abuse or addiction
- A history of calls to Child Protective Services
- A history of neglect
- A history of crime that might endanger the child
Typically, biological or adoptive parents are still considered for custody before a grandparent will be considered. That means that if your grandchild has two parents, the court will try to put the child with the other parent if their primary parent is unfit. If the other parent is deceased, unfit to parent, or unwilling to take custody, only then can you try to claim custody.
Alternatives to Child Custody for a Grandparent
Custody is not the only legal right that allows you to participate in your grandchild’s life and help raise them. To get custody of your grandchildren requires you to work against your child or the grandchild’s other parent, which can lead to further struggles down the road. Instead of seeking child custody, you may prefer to seek a guardianship or to adopt your grandchildren.
A parent may grant another adult a guardianship over their child if they know they will be unable to care for the child for a prolonged period. This can allow the parent to choose a guardian rather than placing the child into the foster care system or leaving it to a court determination as to whether the grandparent can have custody. This is especially helpful in case the parents are killed or seriously injured in an accident, or if they will be gone for a prolonged period, either out of state or away on business.
Adoption is a more permanent solution that cannot usually be challenged later. If your child would like to give you full parental rights over your grandchild because they are too young or unequipped to raise the child, adopting your grandchild might be a better plan than seeking custody through the court system.
Talk to an attorney about what type of parenting rights or child custody is right for your case.
Ventura, CA Attorneys for Grandparent Custody Offering Free Legal Consultations
If you are considering seeking custody of your grandchildren, contact our Ventura grandparent child custody lawyers today to schedule a free legal consultation on your case. At the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth, we represent parents and grandparents on complex child custody cases and other family law matters. To schedule your free legal consultation, contact our law offices today at (805) 643-5555.