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Grandparents’ Rights To Raise Grandchildren In Virginia


Unfortunately, divorce can be very unpleasant for all concerned, and sometimes child custody becomes a contentious issue. In some situations, grandparents may feel the need to request formal visitation rights, or even to seek sole or joint custody of their grandchildren. 

According to an article in VA Lawyer Magazine, published by the Virginia Bar Association, Virginia Code Section 20.124.1 states that grandparents are considered among the persons with a “legitimate interest” in the welfare of a child. The statute goes on, however, to say that the parent-child relationship takes primacy, and that any “non-parent” has a higher standard of proof to show that they are worthy of consideration as a custodial guardian of a child. A grandparent must show “clear and convincing evidence” that they have the best interests of the child in mind.

Factors determining grandparents’ rights to visitation or custody

Virginia Code Section 20.124.3 provides the factors that judges may consider when deciding whether a grandparent may assume custody of a grandchild, including, but not limited to:

  1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child's changing developmental needs
  2. The age and physical and mental condition of each parent
  3. The relationship existing between each parent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child's life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child
  4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members
  5. The role that each parent has played and will play in the future in the upbringing and care of the child

Virginia has a broad history of case law concerning grandparents’ rights in child custody cases, and an experienced attorney can be of tremendous help. Darrell M. Harding, Attorney at Law has been helping grandparents in Norfolk, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach assert their rights to maintain contact with their grandchildren for more than two decades.

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    Thomas Harding was a great lawyer. Very detailed and patient about his work. Helped me win a case that I did not think I would win. I will always refers him as my lawyer.

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    Thomas was so easy to work with in what to me, was a stressful situation. I had numerous questions and he never hesitated to respond back to all of them and put my mind at ease with his knowledge of all of my issues. I’ve already started re...
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    You pay for what you get! Darrell is very knowledgeable and I trust him 100% with my case! Hopefully I’ll never need him again after my case but if I ever did he would be only a phone call away for sure!

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    Mr.Harding & his Paralegal Ms.Meats were attentive & Professional for my Situation. Mr.Harding.was given what he needed to represent me we spoke b4 Trial. I did get the outcome I wanted which was Custody, We didn't have to get Nasty but if ...
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    Thomas and his team did a wonderful job helping me through an otherwise very difficult time in my life. I appreciate his willingness to meet when it was convient for me. I would definitely recommend his services.

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