When Do Grandparents Get Child Custody?

by Five Fantastic Lawyers™ on April 4, 2012

Below is a guest family law blog post based on the laws of Canada.

Divorce leads to pain not only for the couple involved, but also for the kids. In many cases parents find it easier to move on, while children take a longer time to adjust to the situation. Most commonly child custody is granted to either the mother or the father of the children, but in some extreme conditions, the custody may be granted to the grandparents, either paternal or maternal. Here are some circumstances, where the court may award the custody to the grandparents rather than either of the parents.

When both the parents are declared unfit

If both the parents are not fit mentally and face issues coming back to normalcy, the court may consider grandparents for custody. Sometimes it may so happen that the parents get emotionally drained out from the trauma of divorce. The depression and the physical exhaustion might lead to the parents not being able to look after children as time and efforts go into building their own lives.

If the parents have in the past been associated with the use of banned substances or are still victims of substance abuse, it automatically takes off the responsibility of looking after children for both of them. Parents who cannot control their own lives are declared unfit when it comes to taking care of their children.

If both the parents are broke and it is not reasonable to assume that they will be able to stand on their feet shortly, the court considers both unfit for raising their children. In many cases, while the children are the focus, the court also provides a chance for the parents to rebuild their own lives by granting custody to the children’s grandparents.

The child has been deprived of parental care

In cases where both the parents haven’t been able to fulfill their primary responsibilities of taking care of children, the court may consider grandparents as the better option. In other cases, where the children have already been taken care of by grandparents for at least a year, it becomes a good enough reason for the court to grant custody to them. If the parents have been living in different states away children for a year or more, court finds it reasonable to send them to someone, who can provide them the type of care and love that is needed.

If children have been victims of domestic violence, the parents are deemed unfit to raise them. The court always looks at “what is best” for the kids when granting custody. Sometimes the court may grant child custody to one of the fit parents and give the grandparents visiting rights so that they can spend time with their grandchildren.

When both the parents are no more

In situations where the kids have lost both the mother and the father, the court grants custody to the relatives of parents. This does not necessarily mean that the grandparents get the custody. It only means that they are eligible to take care of children. In some cases grandparents may have to fight to get the custody.

When the parent refuses custody

When one parent is deceased and the other refuses to take custody, the grandparents may fight for it. This is an unlikely situation, but in such a case the chances of the grandparents being awarded custody are high.

About the author

Penny Cooper is an expert associated with Toronto Divorce Lawyers and Family Lawyers and Divorce Lawyers.

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