VISITATION RIGHTS OF GRANDPARENTS
Divorce is regrettably common in Orange, California, just as it is in many other parts of the state. When it happens, the children often suffer the most, having to be away from family members who were in their lives on a daily basis before the divorce. In some cases, that may include grandparents, which is why California grandparents should know about their visitation rights.
Can grandparents ask the court to give them visitation with their grandchildren?
They can. However, they have to meet certain conditions in order to get it.
What is the first condition?
There has to be a pre-existing relationship between the grandchild and the grandparent. On one hand, that means that grandparents who had little or nothing to with their grandchild before the parents divorced are unlikely to be given visitation. On the other hand, grandparents who were actively involved in their grandchildren’s lives before the divorce, and have a healthy bond with them, have a good chance at being given visitation if they meet the second condition as well.
What is the second condition?
The second condition is that the court believes it is in the best interests of the grandchildren to have visitation time with their grandparents. A key factor that is weighed in making that determination is how the parents of the children feel about it. The court doesn’t want to supersede the parents’ rights to make decisions about their children unless there is a compelling reason to do so. A good tip for grandparents, therefore, is to be on good terms with their grandchildren’s parents.
Can grandparents get visitation rights if the parents are still married?
That is rare, but it can occur under certain conditions. One is if the parents are living separately. Another is if the grandchildren do not live with either of their parents. Another is if a stepparent has adopted the grandchildren.
Of course, this information is just an overview. Grandparents who want to pursue visitation rights should meet with an experienced attorney.