In Washington State, it is not unusual for grandparents to come to the forefront in caring for their grandchildren. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as if the parents are not able to care for the child, being deployed in the military, being incarcerated or simply deciding to let the grandparents be in charge of the child. In some cases, this can turn into a dispute as to who has the right to take care of the child on a permanent basis.
A custody disagreement between parents and grandparents can be a difficult part of family law. The state issues restrictions if a parent who is declared fit does not want to allow a grandparent to be involved with the child. In some circumstances, however, the child has lived with the grandparent while the parents were considered unfit. If that is the case, then the grandparent might be able to seek custody or at least be involved in the child's life once he or she is back with the parents.
There could be numerous reasons why a grandparent would seek to pursue a grandparents' rights case. The grandchild might have lived with the grandparents and be doing nicely, but the biological parent wants to have custody. The biological parents might be considered unfit due to substance abuse, mental issues or some other problem. The biological parents' household might have been abusive. Grandparents need to have a full grasp on everything that is required to seek third-party custody and that it is the children whose welfare and best interests must be paramount.
Family legal issues, such as grandparents' rights, can be complicated. In many instances, it is not beneficial for the children for there to be a long-term dispute, but it is unavoidable for the child to be cared for in the best possible way. If there is a child custody issue involving grandparents and parents, or grandparents are seeking to see the children, it is important to have a firm legal foundation to move forward with the proceeding with help from a qualified lawyer.