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Can a grandparent win custody of their grandchild?

Grandparents in Wisconsin have the right to fight for the custody of their grandchildren if they believe the child's parents are not fit to raise them. However, the odds may not necessarily be in your favor, and the battle to win custody can be a very difficult one.

The Spruce makes a careful point of the fact that a child's parents will always have the strongest rights when it comes to child custody. Taking that custody away from them can be extremely hard, as you essentially need to prove that the child is living in conditions of either neglect or abandonment. Poor living condition or even financial ability in some states do not constitute abuse. The categories that fit the legal definition of abuse generally include:

  • Neglect
  • Sexual or physical abuse
  • Abandonment
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Emotional abuse

It should also be noted that if one or both parents are abusing substances, this can also be considered abuse toward the child. However, this is not always the case and certain criteria need to be met first, such as the child being present where drugs are stored or being offered drugs.

Grandparents like you and your spouse do have ways to gain custody. You can step in if the parents relinquish care of the children, or if the children are taken away. However, if you wish to fight in court for custody, you will have to prove many things including that the child is actually being abused by the legal definition, and whether or not custody with you would be in the child's best interest.

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