Up until about 40 years ago, grandparents had no specific legal rights
to interactions with their grandchildren. Those rights belonged solely
to the children's parents or legal guardians.
That all changed as more and more grandparents' organizations sought
help through their state legislatures and the legal system to spend time
with their grandchildren. Those actions culminated with many states enacting
laws allowing grandparent visitation rights with their grandchildren.
Some states went so far as to allow other third parties visitation rights as well.
Then, in 2000, the United States Supreme Court made its landmark
Troxel vs. Grandville decision. Although the decision did not specifically overturn all grandparent
visitation laws, it did hold that a parent has the right to make decisions
regarding the custody, care, and control of his/her children.
In California, like most other states, a judge may grant parents visitation
rights if it is in the best interests of the child.
Some factors in determining the best interests of the child include:
Whether a parent of the child is deceased;
Whether the child's parents are separated/divorced/never married;
Whether the whereabouts of the children's parents are unknown;
Whether the child is not living with either parent.
Whether the grandparents have a pre-existing relationship with the grandchildren;
And/or whether both parents do not want the grandparents to have interactions
with the children.
The fact that the children have been adopted does not automatically cut
off a grandparent's right to visitation.
Grandparents' rights issues are usually very complicated and emotional
for all parties involved. Therefore, it is in everyone's best interests
to seek professional help from a family law specialist in dealing with