How California differs when it comes to grandparents' rights | The Law Offices of Dorie A. Rogers, APC
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How California differs when it comes to grandparents' rights

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Over 40 years ago, visitation rights were granted only to the child's parents. However, as family law evolved, many people recognized the significance of granting grandparents visitation rights to their grandchildren. Several studies also showed the potential benefits of grandparents' involvement in a child's life. For these reasons, every state, including California, developed a law that allows visitation rights to grandparents.

Families should be mindful of the different laws among the states that recognize the legal rights of grandparents to visit their grandchildren. Although there are states that have similar statutes on grandparents' rights, the court may choose to apply certain provisions differently. These rights vary on a state-to-state basis, and from case to case. Nevertheless, the primary factor in awarding visitation rights to grandparents would be the best interests of the child. It is also the basis for awarding visitation rights to non-parents, such as other family members and foster parents.

In California, the conditions for establishing grandparents' rights may include divorce or the parents' separation, the present custody arrangement forthe child, the whereabouts of one parent and whether a parent is deceased. The court may also consider the current relationship of the grandparent to a grandchild when identifying the child's best interest. Typically, the court balances this statutory visitation right with the rights of the parents.

The wishes and desire of both parents regarding visitation rights for grandparents may impact the court's decision. For example, if both parents feel that the grandparents should not be allowed visitation, the court may rule that granting visitation is not beneficial for the child.

Source: Grandparents.com, "Grandparents rights: State by State," Accessed on Feb. 12, 2015

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