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GeorgetownLawyr, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12049
Experience:  Experience: contested Divorces, custody disputes, Post dissolution modification, child support issues, adopti
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I am a grandmother of a 12 yr old granddaughter who is residing

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I am a grandmother of a 12 yr old granddaughter who is residing with her father in California. My 33 yr old daughter passed away 5 mos ago due to illness. I live in Nebraska and my daughter called me last year and asked in the event of her passing, could I take her daughter and raise her. I agreed. She advised that her husband agreed to move to Nebraska with his daughter to comply with her wish. Now he does not want to move and my granddaughter has had 2 seizures in the last 2 weeks when she has been a perfectly healthy child. What are my grandparental legal rights in this matter?

Hello and thank you for using our service. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I am a licensed attorney and will try my best to help you. I just ask for two things: 1) Before you sign off, please remember to rate me positively as that is the only way that I am paid and your question does not close after you rate me so I can still answer additional questions without additional charge if you have follow-ups even weeks or months later; and, 2) IF I have bad news for you, please remember I am only the messenger. When you rate me, it is my service to you that you rate, not whether the news is good or bad. I will try my best to give you a solution, but sometimes the law does not have a good one.


Do you know why she had seizures??

Also, Florida is mentioned in your question at the bottom does Florida have anything to do with this?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

NO not yet. Appointment with neurologist is set for Thursday.

Florida is not involved.

Ok, thanks. The father is under no obligation to move to Nebraska if he does not want to, despite his verbal agreement to do so. It is his choice to live where he wants to with his child as his rights as a parent are superior to all others. If you want to seek custody of the child, you will have an uphill battle.


In custody battles between a child's parents and grandparents, courts usually base their decision on two basic doctrines:

  • "Best interests of the child" doctrine: According to this doctrine, custody should be awarded in accordance with the best interests of the child. Custody depends on what is right for the child.
  • "Parental rights" doctrine: This doctrine presumes that the child's best interests lie in being raised by his or her biological parents. This is one of the biggest barriers a grandparent has to overcome in custody disputes with a child's parents.

States differ in their application of the "parental rights" doctrine. Grandparents can usually overcome the "parental rights" doctrine if they can prove that the parents are "unfit." However, the definition of "unfit" varies by state. Generally, parents who have been abusive or neglectful are "unfit." A parent who has a mental disorder or addiction may also be "unfit."


States also differ in their application of the "best interests of the child" doctrine. Some states have statutes that provide a list of factors that courts should consider when determining what is in the child's best interests. Other states have identified factors in custody and visitation cases for determining a child's best interests. Common factors for determining a child's best interest include the following:

  • The love, affection, and emotional ties between the child and the parties seeking custody
  • The ability of the parties seeking custody to provide a safe home and food, clothing, and medical care
  • The mental and physical health needs of the child
  • The mental and physical health of the parties seeking custody
  • The presence of domestic violence in the home
  • The preference of the child

So unless you can show the father is unfit, there is little chance the court will remove the child from the father's care especially after losing her mother. YOur rights as a grandparent are more firmly rooted in the right to have visitation.


In California a grandparent may ask the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild. In order to do this there are several requirements which must be met:


First, there must be a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild(ren). This means that the grandparent must have been involved one way or another in the child's life on a regular basis usually within 6 months of bringing the complaint for visitation. Involvement in the child's life could be such things as the child living in your home for several months or longer, taking the child to school every day for the last school year, or watching the child while the parent(s) work. The court will determine if it is in the child's best interest in having visitation vs. the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child.


Please let me know if you have additional questions and please do not forget to rate my service to you (not the state of the law) as that is the only way that I can get credit for my assistance to you. Even after you rate the service, I can still answer additional questions for you without additional charge. If you do rate me positively, a bonus is always appreciated. If you would like to request me in the future, just make sure you type: FOR GEORGETOWN LAWYER on the subject line. Thank you!

GeorgetownLawyr and 2 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Irma,

I'm just following up with you to see how everything is going. Did my answer help?

Let me know,