One of the most special relationships in life is that between a child and his grandparents. Grandparents are able to provide love and support and are often ready to give their grandchild everything possible. This special bond can be broken, however, when the child’s parents go through an acrimonious divorce. There are many reasons why grandparents may no longer spend time with their grandchildren. Many states do not provide any legal recourse for grandparents to visit with their grandchildren. However, South Carolina does have legislation in place that is helpful for grandparents who are seeking to spend time with their grandchildren.
Grandparent Visitation Statute
The legislation in place is commonly referred to as the grandparent visitation statute. It authorizes family court to order visitation for a grandparent of a minor child when the parents are divorced, or when one parent is deceased. The legislation requires that the court find that the child’s parents, or guardians, are being unreasonable by disallowing the child to visit with the grandparents for a period of more than 90 days. Additionally, the court must find that allowing visitation with the grandparents would not interfere with the relationship between the child and parent or guardian.
Overcoming the Parents’ Decisions
In order for a judge to consider visitation for grandparents, the court must find that the parents are unfit, or there must be compelling circumstances that would supersede the parents’ decision, deeming that it was not in the best interest of the child. Therefore, it is probably that this legislation will be used only in certain circumstances, where the evidence is compelling enough to influence the judge into making the decision.
Parents Must Be Divorced
The legislation addresses the concerns of many thousands of grandparents who have been kept from seeing their grandchildren when their own adult child divorced. It is important to note that the grandchildren’s parents must be divorced in order to seek visitation under this law. Unfortunately, the law does not apply to those cases where the parents are still married.
Grandparents Seeking Visitation
Grandparents are able to seek court intervention in order to request visitation with their grandchildren. According to the court, a grandparent is defined as, “The natural or adoptive parent of a natural or adoptive parent of a minor child.” This definition has been changed to allow for better clarification from the wording in the previous legislation. If grandparents feel they meet the legal requirements, they may seek visitation with their grandchildren.
Help from Robert Clark
When grandchildren are withheld from seeing their grandparents, the result can be devastating to families. Grandparents who are in this situation should discuss their case with a skilled attorney. Attorney Robert Clark will answer your questions and help determine the best way to move forward. If a case is possible, Robert Clark will help file the paperwork and represent you through the process. Contact the compassionate Greenville family law legal team at Greenville Family Law to learn more.