Grandparents do not have automatic rights of visitation or custody of their grandchildren. They must prove “extraordinary circumstances” in order to obtain these rights, for example, one or both of the parents are unfit.
Here is possible case scenario: father and mother both have drug and alcohol addictions and one may have been prosecuted from driving while intoxicated with the child in the vehicle. He or she may have been charged with the misdemeanor of endangering the welfare of the child. In such a case, the court may direct the attorney for the child to make a recommendation to the court as to whether the grandparent(s) home would be a suitable place for the child to live during the pendency of the court case. Sometimes the county Department of Social Services gets involved by the filing of a neglect petition against one or both parents.
Best interests of the child is always a consideration in a case of this nature. Where there is no evidence of poor parenting, grandparents often receive visitation rights by simple stipulation between the grandparent(s) and the parents. Often times the attorney for the child can be instrumental in helping the parties to come to an agreement. Sometimes the parties have hurt feelings and the court system helps both sides to heal their relationships and work together as a family unit.
If you need advice in regard to these issues, feel free to contact me!