In the state of Alaska, a grandparent may be entitled to either custody or visitation rights to a grandchild. However, state law does note that the child’s parents will be granted custody over a non-parent if possible. Generally, grandparents can get custody if the parent is unfit or if there is a child welfare issue if the non-parent is not granted custody.
Grandparents may get visitation rights to a child if there is evidence that not doing so would be detrimental to the child. In most cases, visitation is only granted if it can be shown that there is a relationship between a grandparent and a grandchild. Furthermore, it must be established that not allowing the relationship to continue would not be in the best interest of the child. If there is an ongoing custody case between the parents of the children, the grandparent may request to be added to that case.
It may also be possible to ask for visitation if a custody order has already been established. Determining whether a custody order has been granted or not will play a role in what forms must be filed to ask for visitation. A SHC-1140 form will be filed to ask to join a custody case while grandparents can file a SHC-1144 form if a case has already been decided.
Those who are seeking visitation with or custody of a grandchild may benefit from seeking a family law firm handling grandparents’ rights. Legal counsel may make it possible to learn more about how to file forms correctly and in a timely manner. It may also make it easier to take steps to show the court that the parent is not fit to raise a child or that not allowing visitation may harm the child.