Greenville Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

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Family changes such as divorce, parents separating, and custody battles can dramatically affect individuals other than the parent and the child.

Grandparents who may have once played a vital and happy role in the lives of their grandchildren may suddenly find that relationship threatened. In other cases, the death of a parent or conflict between the parent and grandparent can alienate the child.

When situations like these arise, grandparents often want to know if they have rights to visitation or even custody. Greenville family lawyer Angela Frazier takes a look at grandparents’ rights in South Carolina and what you need to know.

Do Grandparents Have a Right to Visitation?

There is a presumption that parents are best suited to decide how to raise their children and choose whether, and to what extent, grandparents may see them. Nonetheless, there are circumstances in which a court will override this presumption and allow the grandparents to visit their grandchildren.

The court must find the following to be true before it will grant grandparents visitation rights:

  • Either or both of the child’s parents are deceased, divorced, or living separate and apart.
  • The child’s parents or guardians are unreasonably depriving the grandparent of visitation with the child, for instance by denying visitation to the grandparent for at least 90 days.
  • Awarding grandparent visitation would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
  • The court determines by clear and convincing evidence that either the child’s parents/guardians are unfit or there are other compelling reasons to override the parents’ or guardians’ decision not to allow visitation.

Concerning parental unfitness, “clear and convincing evidence” is an elevated standard of proof.

There are various reasons a parent may be found to be unfit, such as drug or alcohol abuse. A Greenville grandparents’ rights attorney can help you obtain the evidence to meet this standard.

Do Grandparents Have a Right to Custody?

Grandparents’ rights in South Carolina potentially include custody as well. A grandparent who wishes to obtain custody of his or her grandchildren must first show that he or she is a de facto custodian of the grandchild.

This requires showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that he or she has been the primary caregiver and financial supporter of the grandchild for an extended period of time. This should be at least six months if the child is young or one year if the child is older.

It’s worth noting that the necessary time period must have accrued before the custody petition is filed. In other words, any time that a grandparent spends as the de facto custodian after formally requesting the court to grant custody won’t count.

If you aren’t sure whether enough time has passed, ask an experienced Greenville, SC grandparents’ rights attorney.

What Is the Doctrine of a Psychological Parent?

South Carolina recognizes the Psychological Parent Doctrine, an alternative method by which a petitioner (e.g. grandparent) may establish custody or visitation rights with the grandchild.

To successfully make this argument, a grandparent must prove the following:

  • The biological or adoptive parent(s) consented to and fostered the grandparent’s establishment of a parent-like relationship with the grandchild.
  • The grandparent and the grandchild lived together in the same household.
  • The grandparent assumed obligations of parenthood by taking significant responsibility for the child’s care, education, and general development (including contributing towards the child’s support without expecting payment).
  • The grandparent has served as a parent for enough time to have established a bonded and dependent parental relationship with the child.

How Can Our Attorney Help Make a Claim?

Regardless of which route you wish to take in arguing that you should have grandparents’ visitation rights or grandparents’ custody rights, you will need compelling evidence in your favor.

Although your court testimony is a form of evidence, it is far more beneficial to have hard proof of such matters as whether:

  • The parents are unreasonably withholding visitation between you and your grandchild
  • The parents are engaged in activities that make them unfit to raise their child
  • There are compelling reasons to override the parent’s refusal to permit visitation
  • You have acted as a de facto custodian and played a substantial role in raising the grandchild
  • Your request is in your grandchild’s best interests

The evidence may include a variety of items like photographs, videos, emails, text messages, receipts, bank statements, and more.

We understand not only how to acquire such evidence but how to ensure it is admissible in court. Our team also knows how to demonstrate the positive influence you’ve played in the life of your grandchild and how to convince the judge you should be granted visitation or custody. We can handle all legal filings and represent your interests in court.

Contact Our Greenville Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

If you’re ready to seek custody of or visitation with your grandchild, let us help. As a mother herself, attorney Angela Frazier makes children a priority in any family law matter. We can explain the basics of grandparents’ rights in South Carolina and how they will impact your case.

To get started, submit our online form or call us at Elliott Frazier — Family, Personal Injury, & Car Accident Attorneys, LLC.

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