Kathleen J. Smith, Attorney at Law
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As a grandparent, do you have a right to visitation?

Grandparents have a special role in the lives of their grandchildren, and a divorce or other issue could threaten this important relationship. Whether it is because of a contentious divorce or unfit parents, grandparents are sometimes faced with the reality that they may have to fight to either have visitation or gain custody of their grandchildren.

If you are a California grandparent, and you believe that you may have a valid reason to go to court in order to seek visitation or custody of your grandkids, you know that you have a difficult process ahead of you. While the court may grant grandparents rights in some cases, you would be wise to seek experienced legal guidance as you pursue an outcome that you believe is in the best interests of your loved ones.

What you need to know as a grandparent

Grandparents' rights are a murky legal issue. It can be quite complex for grandparents to secure custody or visitation rights, especially if the parents of the kids are fighting this effort. In some cases, it is appropriate for grandparents to take this issue before the court.

Common reasons for a court to grant visitation or custody rights would be if the parents are not fit or there is significant evidence that it would be in the best interests of the children. When ruling on these issues, the court will take the following into consideration:

  • The desires of the child
  • The ability to the grandparents to take care of the child
  • The parental capabilities of the parents
  • The strength of the relationship between the grandkids and the grandparents
  • Any evidence of abuse or neglect
  • The emotional and physical needs of the child
  • Continuity of lifestyle for the child

Every case is unique, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to these types of matters. In order to pursue your desired outcome, you would be wise to seek legal support and guidance as soon as possible.

What's best for the kids?

The ultimate goal of any custody or visitation matter is to protect the best interests of the child above all else. Parents and grandparents naturally want what is best for the child, even if they may disagree about what that actually means.

If you believe you should seek custody of your grandkids or believe that you have grounds to seek regular visitation, you do not have to walk through this process alone. You would be wise to start by seeking a complete evaluation of your case in order to understand the legal options available to you.

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