Can parents give custody of their child to grandparents in Virginia?

Grandparent custody rights in Virginia

When Grandparents Can Be Granted Custody of a Grandchild in Norfolk 

If you are worried your grandchild is not adequately cared for, you may want to seek custody of them. You have limited rights to custody of grandchildren in Virginia. Let our experienced Norfolk family law lawyers at Tavss Fletcher help you assert your rights and obtain custody of your grandchild if this is in their best interests. 

Grandparents can be awarded custody of a grandchild in limited circumstances in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. This legal process is not initiated by parents voluntarily granting custody but instead involves the court determining who should be granted custody and care of the child. 

When Can a Grandparent Be Awarded Custody in Virginia?

While parents cannot directly grant custody of their children to grandparents, the court has the authority to make such decisions. Under Virginia law, grandparents must show that they are a person with a legitimate interest in the care and custody of their grandchild to petition the court for custody of them. The judge must find that awarding custody is in the best interests of the child under Virginia Code § 20.124-3.

What Are the Circumstances When Grandparents Can Be Awarded Custody of a Grandchild?

In Virginia, there are specific circumstances under which the court can find that it is in the best interests of the child to award custody to their grandparents. Our experienced family law lawyers at Tavss Fletcher can help grandparents obtain custody of grandchildren in the following situations:

  • Unfitness of parents. When parents are deemed unfit due to issues such as substance abuse, neglect, or other factors that jeopardize the well-being of the child, grandparents can seek custody.
  • Prior divestiture order. In cases where a court has previously issued an order removing a child from the parent's home, grandparents may be awarded custody if it aligns with the child's best interests.
  • Voluntary relinquishment by parents. If parents voluntarily relinquish their parental rights or consent to grandparent custody, the court may consider this in determining that awarding custody to a grandparent is in the best interests of the grandchild.
  • Abandonment. Grandparents may seek custody if the child has been abandoned by the parents, demonstrating a lack of parental involvement and responsibility.
  • Special circumstances. The court may recognize special circumstances, such as the child having a significant bond with the grandparents, which could justify awarding custody in the best interests of the child.