Do Grandparents have any rights for visitation?

Grandparents Rights

Do Grandparents have any rights for visitation? 

In the state of California, Grandparents can be granted reasonable visitation with their grandchildren under certain circumstances. California law allows the courts to grant reasonable visitation to grandparents when the court finds one of the following:

1) There is preexisting relationship between the grandparent and grandchild that “has engendered a bond”. Under this premise, the courts find that visitation is in the best interest of the child.

2) The best interests of the child in having visitation with a grandparent are balanced against the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child.

Grandparents cannot file for visitation rights while the grandchild’s parents are still married, except in the following cases:

  1. The parents are living separately and apart on a permanent/indefinite basis.
  2. A parent’s whereabouts are unknown and have been for at least 30 days.
  3. One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation.
  4. The child does not live with either of his or her parents.
  5. The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.
  6. One of the parents is incarcerated or voluntary institutionalized.

In the state of California, the courts prefer parents’ rights over nonparents. The courts typically deny grandparents’ rights when the grandchild’s parents agree that the grandparent should not have visitation rights. They also deny grandparents’ rights when parents may disagree about whether a grandparent should have visitation rights but the custodial parent contests such request.

To start a request for visitation for a grandchild through the court system, the grandparent must know whether there is currently an open case between the parents, such as divorce or parentage. If there is, then the Grandparent will need to file a Joinder and Request for Order to obtain a court date to be heard on their request. If not, then the grandparent would need to file a new case by creating a Petition and Request for Order.

If you are interested in learning more about your rights as a Grandparent, please feel free to call our office for a consultation.

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