I'm sorry to hear about your granddaughter's situation.
Before I answer your question, I'm going to strongly suggest that your granddaughter retain a local family law attorney to assist her if at all possible. I recognize that this may be particularly difficult when considering your daughter's situation, but this is a very important and complex matter.
With that said, in Georgia, just because the Court awards one party sole custody does not mean that the non-custodial parent(s) will necessarily lose visitation rights or that their parental rights will be terminated. This could happen-- it all depends on what the court believes is in the best interest of the child. The Court does not generally like to terminate parental rights unless it believes it is in the best interest of the child. Unfortunately, if a parent is serving time in jail, it makes it easier for a court to reach this conclusion.
Also, if the Court merely enters a custodial order, then the court can typically be petitioned to modify such an order. With that in mind, however, if a child has been raised for a substantial period of time (e.g., 5 years), with one parent (or the grandparents), then the court may view it as being in the best interest of the child to continue living with the same arrangements, as the Court does not typically like to displace children or substantially alter their living arrangements without proper cause.
Once again, I'm going to suggest that your daughter obtain the assistance of a local family law attorney if at all possible. If she can't afford an attorney, then you may wish to contact a local legal aid organization to see if they will assist her pro bono.
No matter what though, I wish the both of you the best of luck.
I hope this helps, and please let me know if you have any follow-up questions.
DISCLAIMER: Although I am an attorney, I am not your attorney under any circumstances, period. I require a written engagement letter to serve as someone's attorney. Please keep in mind that everything you say in this exchange is readily accessible to the public (whether it is law enforcement, your nosy next door neighbor, or your mother-in-law, they can read what you write). Do not say anything that you do not want publicly known. If you want legal advice or an attorney-client relationship, and all the benefits that come with the attorney-client privilege
, you should seek and retain local qualified counsel. You should also keep in mind that any information I give you is based on the limited facts you provide me, and any additional facts could substantially or completely alter any information I give you. Just for the record, unless you live in Georgia, I am not licensed to practice law in your jurisdiction. In fact, my knowledge of laws is limited to Georgia. I am not an "expert"-- just a lawyer. Any information I provide you is for general information and educational purposes and shall not constitute legal advice. Consider it a good first step in your knowledge acquisition.