My wife has a child from a previous relationship that I have raised though I am not the biological father, and the child’s grandparents are now threatening to modify custody.
Her biological father has largely been out of the picture but now is requesting more parenting time and having the child stay the night with him at the home he shares with his parents.
The father’s grandparents are threatening to sue for custody of the child if we do not allow the biological father to have increased visitation.
Can the grandparents attempt to get custody of the child?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Indiana divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
There is a preference for the parents to raise the child if they are fit and able. In a custody modification case, it is possible for the grandparents to intervene and request grandparent visitation.
However, if the child’s biological father is in the picture and is exercising parenting time, their parenting time will likely be during the biological father’s parenting time.
The grandparents may assist in a custody or parenting time modification hearing on behalf of their son and testify on his behalf. If the child’s biological father petitions the court to modify parenting time or custody, he will have to show that it would be in the child’s best interest to modify his parenting time by increasing the length of his parenting time and/or requesting more frequent parenting time.
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Since the child does not typically stay the night with her biological father, it is possible that even if he were granted overnight parenting time with the child, his parenting time would be phased in over an extended period of time to allow the child to adjust to the increased time with her biological father.
Until there is a court order for the biological father to have overnight parenting time with the child, the mother is under no obligation to grant this time. It is the biological father’s responsibility to request the time from the court and receive an order in his favor.
Unless the court determines that the biological parents of the child are not fit or able to care for the child, it is very unlikely that the grandparents would receive custody of the child over the objection or one or both of the biological parents.
As such, the grandparents would more likely petition for grandparent visitation or participate in the custody battle on behalf of their son. If this is the case, the court will evaluate many factors to determine what would be in the best interest of the child in determining custody and/or parenting time.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.