Grandparent’s Rights In Loudoun County Child Custody Proceedings
Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond and often play an important role in each other’s lives. Unfortunately, child custody disputes can put this relationship in jeopardy. Our Leesburg child custody attorney explains the role of grandparents in these proceedings and the steps you can take to protect your rights.
The Role of Grandparents In Virginia Child Custody Arrangements
Child custody proceedings are among the most hotly contested issues in the Virginia Family Court system. The outcome of these cases not only impacts parents and their children, but other family members involved, including grandparents.
In determining child custody in Loudoun County, the court’s primary concern is protecting the child’s best interests. Typically, the rights of the parent’s take precedence in these proceedings. However, under Section 20-124.1 Virginia Code, a grandparent is considered as someone with a ‘legitimate interest’. This means that, while they do not have specific rights in regards to child custody in Virginia, they may be entitled to be included as part of any child time sharing arrangements in the following situations:
- If one or both parents is deceased;
- If one or both parents is unable to care for or provide for the child;
- If one or both parents has previously lost custody or abandoned the child;
- If a child is at risk of actual harm;
- If there are other extenuating circumstances that warrant including grandparents in the parenting plan.
In some cases, a parent’s busy work schedule may prompt having the child stay with the grandparents during the week or on weekends. Depending on the amount of time the child is in the grandparent’s care, awarding partial legal custody may be a good idea as well. This gives the grandparent the right to make important decisions on the child’s behalf, such as in regard to their education, medical care, and religious upbringing.
How To Protect Your Rights as a Grandparent
When dealing with difficult situations involving parents and child custody proceedings in the Loudoun County Court, there are steps grandparents can take to protect themselves, their rights, and their relationship with their grandchild. These include:
- Hire an attorney who can represent you in legal proceedings;
- Provide a detailed statement chronicling your current and prior relationship with your grandchild and any concerns you have about the parents;
- Keep records regarding your involvement in important matters pertaining to the child and receipts for any expenses you paid;
- Attend all scheduled court hearings and comply with any orders issued;
- Respect the rights of the parents and their relationship with the child;
- Avoid angry outbursts or antagonizing the parents, which are likely to reflect badly on you in court.
Contact Our Loudoun County Child Custody Attorneys Today
As a grandparent, protecting your rights and your grandchild’s wellbeing is a primary concern. At Schwartz Kalina, PLLC, you can count on us to act as a strong legal ally on your side in Loudoun County child custody proceedings. To discuss your options, call or contact our Leesburg child custody attorneys online today and request a consultation.