Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

Grandparent's rights | Family Law Attorney | Charleston, SCBeing a grandparent in Charleston can be one of the more rewarding experiences in your life. Like most grandparents, you enjoy spending time with your grandchildren and you want to visit them regularly.

Perhaps, something has changed in your relationship with your son or daughter. They may be threatening to keep you from seeing your granddaughter or grandson.

Now, you ask: What happens if my son or daughter won’t let me see my grandchild? Do I have any right to see my grandchild if it is against the wishes of the parents?

Unfortunately, in most cases, the answer is: “No.” However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Charleston family courts will occasionally award child custody or visitation rights to a grandparent.

It has been estimated that as many as 100,000 grandchildren in South Carolina live in a household that is headed by one or more grandparents. And, for roughly half of those children, their biological parents don’t live in the same household. If this describes your situation, you should consult immediately with a child custody lawyer in Charleston to determine if you can get a child custody order for your grandchildren.

A Charleston family court may award you child custody if the judge finds that you are the “de facto custodian” of your grandchild. To obtain child custody, you must prove that: (a) both parents are dead, unavailable, or unfit; or (b) other special circumstances make it appropriate to award child custody to you as the grandparent.

Alternatively, a Charleston family court judge may award you grandparent visitation rights. South Carolina law permits your family court judge to award visitation rights to you if you can prove the following:

  • You are a grandparent of the child.
  • The parents of the child are not living together.
  • The parents of the child have unreasonably denied you visitation with the child for 90 days or longer.
  • You have bonded with your grandchild in a way that is like a parent-child relationship.

If you prove each of these points, your Charleston judge may grant you child visitation rights under a parenting plan that does not interfere with your grandchild’s typical school and other activities.

Getting child custody or visitation as a grandparent is an uphill battle, and it’s a legal battle that you shouldn’t undertake alone.

If you are concerned about the well-being of your grandchildren and believe that you are being deprived of opportunities to see them, it’s time to talk to an experienced Charleston child custody attorney about your options.

Please feel free to contact me or call me now at 843-631-7117. I will be glad to answer your questions about your grandparent’s rights in South Carolina.