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.
Children who have grandparents in their lives typically love spending time with them whenever they can and especially during family gatherings and holidays. The close relationship between a grandparent and grandchild spans the generations and usually helps hold a family together. When a child's parents decide to part ways, however, the bond between grandparent and grandchild can be disrupted. The separation can become even greater as the court focuses on child custody and the noncustodial parent's visitation rights.
Family law issues such as grandparents' rights are often ignored by California residents without even realizing the importance of grandparents in their children's lives. Even though the Supreme Court recently indicated that only divorcing parents are capable of making decisions about their children's custody, grandparent's rights can still be exercised under unique circumstances, especially during transitions.
Family law covers many issues, including marital dissolution, child custody, adoption and grandparents' rights. In Orange County, California, readers are quite familiar with child custody issues that often arise in divorce cases. Local residents need to understand that parental, as well as grandparental, custody issues are decided in divorce cases.
Though advanced in age, senior citizens can play a significant role in the community. It is no surprise then that Orange County and other California residents hold their seniors in very high regard. For example, a recent study from the University of California shows just how significantly grandparents' roles have increased in child custody cases.
Family must be cared for, even if they are generations apart. That is why many grandparents in Orange County are involved in custody disputes to ensure their grandchildren's best interests. However, increasing grandparent-headed families -- or "grandfamilies" -- pose challenges that can risk the custody of children living with their grandparents.
Parents' legal rights with regards to their children are thoroughly codified in California law. However, when both parents are incapable of caring for children, the next of kin may wind up with custody, and this often means the grandparents. Family law in California is unfortunately not so forthcoming in providing for grandparents' legal rights when they end up raising their grandchildren.