Although a child's parents are typically the central figures in a child custody dispute, this is not always the case. More and more grandparents are heavily involved in raising their grandchildren, and are more often involved in custody disputes as a result. While courts are hesitant to interfere with parental rights, grandparents are sometimes entitled to visitation rights, and in some case, even receive full custody of their grandchildren. Ohio residents might be interested to read about the following child custody dispute concerning grandparent rights.
A woman in Virginia recently won physical and legal custody of her granddaughter following the murder of her daughter, the mother of the girl. According to news reports, the young girl's mother was shot and killed following a fight that occurred last September. The man who was accused of the crime was apparently the best friend of the girl's father. Although he was indicted on murder charges, he walked after witnesses in the case refused to testify.
Following the murder of the girl's mother, a child custody dispute developed involving the grandmother and the father. The court granted the grandmother custody after the young father showed up to the child custody case high. According to reports, a drug test revealed that the father had cocaine in his system. The attorney for the grandmother believes that this revelation may have been what finally tipped the scale in favor of the grandmother.
Courts are hesitant to take children away from their parents. In cases where the courts do intervene, there generally must be a showing that the parents are unfit to care for the child or the health and well being of the child are in jeopardy. Some reasons the court may intervene with parental rights and grant a grandparent legal and physical custody of a grandchild include substance abuse, mental illness, severe economic hardship or physical or mental abuse of the child.
Source: NBC12, "On Your Side: Grandmother wins custody of child," Diane Walker, April 30, 2013