What You Should Know About Custody, Visitation Rights for Extended Family
In some situations, certain extended family members of either spouse (such as grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) may wonder what rights they have to visit or even take custody of a child. While there are some limited visitation rights available for some extended family members (and only if the parents approve of the visitation), custody rights are an entirely different situation.
Below are some circumstances in which you should be aware of your rights to custody or visitation as an extended family member:
- Abuse: If there is physical, psychological, emotional or sexual abuse occurring in the home, other members of the family can legally step in and challenge the parents for custody — or take the children for extended visitation. In some cases, for example, grandparents can seek temporary custody while the issue is dealt with in court.
- Neglect: Similar to with abuse, extended family can step in and take a child in at least temporarily to spare him or her from neglect and ensure the child’s wellbeing while the issue is processed in the courts.
- Divorce: Courts may occasionally grant visitation rights to grandparents, aunts and uncles after divorce, especially if they believe it to be in the best interests of the child. However, parents have much more control in these situations if there is no abuse or neglect present in the home. Parents may keep certain extended family members out of their children's lives if they agree it would be harmful for the child to have a relationship with those family members.
For more information on visitation rights for extended family members, especially after a divorce, consult an experienced family law attorney with Bryan L. Salamone & Associates.