Can the child’s grandparent file for custody?
If certain circumstances are met, a grandparent could file to join an existing custody case between the child’s parents to seek custody - for example, if there is an ongoing divorce case. This is known as ”intervening” in the case.1 However, the law does not necessarily give grandparents the right to start their own court case to seek custody of a grandchild.2
In order to intervene in a custody case, a grandparent must meet the following requirements:
- For a child who is 12 months of age or younger:
- the child lived with the grandparent for at least six months in a row; and
- the grandparent was the primary caregiver for, and financial supporter of, the grandchild during the they lived together.
- For a child who is older than 12 months:
- the child lived with the grandparent for at least one year in a row;
- the grandparent was the primary caregiver for, and financial supporter of, the grandchild during the time they lived together; and
- the continuous period of custody occurred within one year of the date the child custody proceeding began.3
1 A.C.A. § 9-13-101(2)(A)
2 Pfeifer v. Deal, 2012 Ark. App. 190 (2012)
3 A.C.A. § 9-13-101(2)(B)