Under California law, “a grandparent can ask the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild.” This often comes up when a parent or both parents do not allow a grandparent to see the child after the parents are no longer together (e.g., after a divorce).
Suppose both parents are preventing you from having a relationship with your grandchildren. In that case, the family court may be able to help you get court-ordered visitation time with your grandchildren.
To petition the court for grandparent visitation orders, you must meet two criteria:
There was a preexisting relationship between the grandparent and grandchild. Such a bond would make it in the child's best interests to maintain a relationship with the grandparent; and
The court must balance the child's best interests having a relationship with his or her grandparent against the rights of the parent(s) who have decision-making ability over the child.
Note that if one parent allows visitation, a court would not likely grant any grandparent visitation rights because they will assume the allowing parent will give the grandparent visitation during their custodial time.
However, a grandparent can also petition for rights even when the parents are married. However, the court would most likely deny visitation rights to the grandparents except in the following circumstances:
The parents are currently living separately and apart on a permanent or indefinite basis.
One of the parents has been absent for more than one month without the other spouse/parent knowing the absent spouse/parent's whereabouts.
One of the parents joins the petition with the grandparent.
The grandchild is not residing with either parent.
The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.
These are not easy cases because the family court will have to evaluate many competing factors, such as each parent's requests, the current visitation order for the parents, the child's best interest, and practical considerations. Having the assistance of an experienced attorney is crucial.
If you’re considering petitioning for grandparent visitation, give us a call! We’re happy to talk! (909) 377-8141
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