Case Story: Child Custody and Grandparents’ Rights

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Can grandparents receive custody of their grandchildren? Grandparents rights is a tricky legal issue: grandparents will need to prove that the parents are unfit and creating a bad environment for the child.

In this video, child custody attorney Kelli Byers Hooper explains a case she handled involving a child raised by his grandparents, and what happened when the mother sought to regain custody. Thankfully, this story has a satisfying ending for everyone involved.

Kelli Byers Hooper is a child custody lawyer with KBH Law, Inc. in the metro Atlanta area. She can be reached at 888-558-1353.

Video Transcript:

It’s really a case about a military family. The parents, the grandparents had been military members, both retired from the army. Their son was serving active duty in the military and when stationed overseas, the little boy’s mother also had been in the military as well. And while this 5-year-old’s parents were serving their country, they had acquiesced and signed papers so that the grandparents could raise a little boy. And so they had him with them, and they enrolled him in karate and you know kindergarten and they were taking very good care of him.

And then the mom decided one day that she just wanted custody of the child back. Well the grandparents were concerned because the mother had exhibited some behaviors prior to the child living with him that were concerning. And so they hired me to file a petition in Georgia to establish their rights as grandparents. The law and grandparents really didn’t have the ability to get custody of a child if their parents were still alive and the court hadn’t found that that the parents were unfit.

At one point in the case, it looked like all hope was lost. It looked like this little boy was gonna have to go and live with mom. It looked like dad, his father, was not going to have custody of him, and the law was not on grandparents’ side.

And so I put the grandfather on the stand and the grandfather is a typical grandpa. He would tell these long drawn out sort of like Grandpa-style stories. Worked very well in the courtroom because he took his time and explained to the court how their family worked and how he was the patriarch of this military family that you know we’re all sort of working together for the benefit of this little boy. And so what ended up happening is we won. Mom at the end of Grandpa’s long soliloquy on how his family worked and why it was important for that military family to support themselves the way they did, Mom acquiesced and said: “You know what? He needs to stay with the grandparents, he needs to stay with the dad.” And so it was quite emotional. I think everybody in the courtroom was crying. I start crying thinking about it but it was a good outcome. Good outcome for the child.

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