Grandparents' Rights

Being a grandparent is an extraordinary and wonderful thing. Many grandparents are close to their grandchildren and some also act in a more parental role. I was fortunate to have grandparents who were always there for me and my brothers and cousins if we needed them. I see the same in my practice. Grandparents often can step up if their grandchildren need to be taken out of their parents' care. This can be done in juvenile court, probate court or family court proceedings. 

Placement Resources in Child Protection (DCF) Proceedings

When it removes a child from his or her parents, DCF (Department of Children and Families) is supposed to look for relatives before placing the child with non-relative foster parents. Grandparents can take the children under informal family arrangements or as foster parents. Sometimes grandparents are overlooked, not known or just not acceptable to DCF. In these cases, grandparents should seek legal counsel to deal with DCF. 

Motions To Intervene

Grandparents and other blood relatives (e.g. aunts, uncles, cousins, older brothers and sisters) can be more than just foster parents in child protection (neglect, abuse, termination) proceedings. They can become actual parties to the cases through motions to intervene. In that capacity they can file motions (such as a motion to transfer guardianship) and and respond and participate in case events. Intervention is sometimes necessary if the grandparents or other relatives are not being brought into or otherwise have their interests represented adequately in court. These motions are difficult and are subject to strict time requirements. It is advisable to hire an attorney. 

Motions to Remove Guardianship and Temporary Custody

When blood relatives believe that a child (grandchild, niece/nephew, etc.) is in danger from his or her parents but DCF has not yet become involved, they can initiate actions in probate court to remove the parent (or other legal guardian) as guardian and also move to seek temporary custody of the child while that action is pending. 

 

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Family Court Proceedings

Family court is another venue for grandparents and relatives to step in to help children. They can seek custody or visitation orders if the parents or legal guardians are not allowing contact. 

Visitation and Custody Orders

Connecticut does not have specifc grandparent custody and visitation rights. We have statutes that allow for third-parties, who do not even have to be relatives, to initiate or join in actions in family court for orders of custody and visitation. These are the only mechanisms for relatives to get involved through family court. These actions require that the petitioning party demonstrate that they have a close relationship and that it is in the best interests of the child for the contact to occur. 

Grandparents Rights Attorney in Connecticut

Although grandparent rights are not specifically defined in Connecticut law, there are many ways for grandparents and other relatives to step up and help children when DCF is involved and when it is not. Grandparents and relatives can also seek custody and visitation orders if the parents of the children are not allowing contact. Chris DeMatteo knows the law and the court system and can help you assert your rights to help the children in your family. Contact him today for a free consultation.