Grandparent Visitation & Custody
Every state has a grandparent visitation statute that allows grandparents and other relations to ask for visitation rights in order to maintain their relationships with loved ones. This is especially important to grandparents who are no longer on good terms with the child's parent(s) because of divorce, separation, or other reasons. Grandparents who wishes to file for visitation must do so in the area where their grandchild resides. For example, a grandparent who lives in New York but whose grandchild lives in California in the city of Fremont must file for visitation in Superior Court of California, County of Alameda.
Circumstances where a grandparent may find that they have to file for visitation in order to see their grandchild:
- They are the parents of the non-custodial parent.
- They are the parents of a deceased parent.
- Their grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.
Family Code Section 3102: Gives grandparents the right to petition for visitation after one of the child's parents has died.
Family Code Section 3103: Lets grandparents file for custody visitation during a custody proceeding.
Family Code Section 3104: Lets grandparents file for visitation when their grandchild's parents are divorced, not married, or separated. It also allows for grandparents to make a visitation claim when the grandchild isn't living with either parent.
- A relationship between the grandparent and child must already exist.
- Any visits must be in the child's best interests.
- Visitations cannot interfere with any birth parent's visitation rights.
A grandparent can file for custodial rights if:
- A probate court grants custody of a child to a relative.
- The parents of a child are not able to care for their son or daughter and a guardian must be appointed. A grandparent can also ask to become a co-guardian to a child.
- Both parents' rights have been terminated due to neglect, abuse, or the inability to properly care for their child's needs.
- Both parents have died.
- The parents have given custody of their child(ren) to the grandparent(s).
A grandparent can also file for adoption of their grandchild if they want to take total and permanent legal responsibility for the child. In every case, a grandparent must prove to the court that it is in the child's best interest to live with them rather than anyone else. Courts will also consider a grandparent's health, age, and ability to take care of and financially support their grandchild.
When issues such as these arise in a family, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a mechanism which can be utilized to resolve disagreements for which courts do not recognize rights, such as grandparent custody and visitation claims. Our lawyers are able to provide guidance through the process, and we are committed to obtaining a fair resolution for your case while maintaining your privacy to the best of our abilities.
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