There are few greater joys in life than spending time with a grandchild. Not all grandparents get the opportunity to forge those special bonds though, and it often feels impossible to circumvent parents’ choices when they are shut out from their grandchildren’s lives. However, Alabama respects grandparents’ rights when it comes to visiting grandchildren.

State statutes for grandparents’ rights have to adhere to both federal and state constitutions or risk being struck down. This was the case several years back in Alabama, when the court had to strike down part of the state’s grandparents’ visitation statute. It was later amended in 2003 to meet constitutional requirements. This new statute gives the court the ability to grant visitation to grandparents when it is in children’s best interests.

Best interests can vary from child to child depending on his or her situation. For example, if both of a child’s parents have passed away, it may be in his or her best interest to regularly visit with a grandparent. Grandparent visitation might also be warranted if both parents are still alive but are divorced. Even a parent preventing a grandparent from seeing a grandchild could violate the child’s best interests and warrant visitation rights.

A grandparent’s love for his or her grandchild is unique, and the bond that they often share is so special. Losing the opportunity to see one’s grandchild can be devastating for everyone involved. No one has to simply accept being shut out of his or her grandchild’s life, so it may be helpful to learn more about grandparents’ rights in Alabama.

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