A grandparent has standing to initiate an action for full custody of his or her grandchild if the grandparent has a relationship with the child in the nature of a parent-child relationship.
To be awarded custody of the child, the grandparent must then prove with clear and convincing evidence that both parents either 1) are unfit or have neglected the welfare of the child or 2) have acted inconsistently with their constitutionally protected status as parents.
Judges determine whether parents are unfit or have acted inconsistently with their protected status on a case-by-case basis considering all of the evidence. Judges have considered the following factors in making this determination: a parent’s failure to provide safe and suitable housing, a parent’s failure to recognize or treat a child’s medical or developmental problems, a parent’s inability to take on normal adult responsibilities, a parent’s lack of involvement in the child’s life, and a parent’s ceding of decision making authority to a third party.
Speak with a reputable family law attorney to determine your rights as a grandparent.