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Can grandparents get custody of their grandchildren?

In divorce cases, grandparents may worry about their own rights to see their grandchildren after the split. That divorce makes family life far more complicated, but they love the children and still want to stay involved with them.

In terms of seeking custody of the children themselves, grandparents can do so, but it is rather uncommon for them to actually get custody. They may in cases where the parents have passed away or gone to jail, but a divorce case probably just means the official relationship is ending. To take custody away from the parents, the grandparents often have an obligation to demonstrate that the parents are completely unfit for that role.

This is possible, but it takes an extreme situation. For instance, maybe the parents got divorced because of domestic violence and abuse. The parent who was getting abused, meanwhile, turned to drugs to cope and now has a serious drug addiction problem. Grandparents may be able to argue that the addicted parent cannot care for the children and that the abuser is a danger to the children, thereby getting custody for themselves.

In most cases, though, the courts will try to keep the children with the parents. A simple desire to see the children more often is not going to be enough for grandparents to seek custody rights, as that's not a strong enough reason to take those rights from the parents.

Are you involved in a complex family law case involving children? Be sure you know exactly what rights you have and how you can protect the relationships that are most important to you.

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