If you’re a grandparent, you may be wondering if you can have any type of
visitation rights in California. Since the laws vary from state to state, this is a reasonable
question to ask indeed. As a grandparent in California, you are in luck.
It is possible to ask the court for visitation rights in certain circumstances.
Under California law, grandparents have the right to ask the family courts
for reasonable visitation with their grandchild as long as the grandparent
meets the criteria.
For a court to grant a grandparent reasonable visitation of a grandchild,
the court must: 1) determine the grandparent had a pre-existing relationship
with their grandchild and that for some reason their bond is endangered,
and 2) the court must balance the child’s best interests (regarding
visitation with the grandparent) with the parents’ rights to make
decisions about their child.
What if the Parents Are Married?
Are your grandchild’s parents still married? If so, you may not be
able to ask for visitation. Generally, grandparents are not able to ask
for visitation rights if the grandchild’s parents are married to
each other, but there are some exceptions:
- The parents do not live together;
- One of the parents cannot be located (and it’s been at least one month);
- One of the parents decides to join the grandparents’ visitation petition;
- The grandchild does not live with either one of their parents; or
- The grandchild was adopted by their stepparent.
The California Courts suggest that grandparents try to resolve their
visitation issues out of court. Sometimes, mediation between the grandparents and
the child’s parents can help both sides reach a satisfactory visitation
arrangement. However, some grandparents have no choice but to go to court,
especially when their ex son or daughter in law has primary physical custody
of the grandchild and won’t let the grandparents see him or her.
If you’re a grandparent who is seeking visitation rights of your
contact Claery & Hammond, LLP to explore your legal options in a
free case evaluation.