Understanding grandparents’ rights in California

On Behalf of | Jan 13, 2020 | Divorce |

Divorce can be hard for more than just parents. In some cases, it could hinder grandparents from maintaining close ties with their grandchildren. Sadly, a divorce could sever these relationships for a variety of reasons.  If grandparents are worried about their ability to see their grandchildren, they may want to ask themselves some questions before taking action.

What will courts consider for grandparent visitation?

Here in California, grandparents can request reasonable visitation with a grandchild from the court. However, before they approve, they typically have to:

  • Prove that there was a preexisting relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild. As part of that proof, the grandparent must demonstrate they have an “engendered bond” with the grandchild. This means the continuation of their relationship will benefit the child long-term.
  • Balance the parents’ rights to make decisions on their children’s behalf while still allowing them to see their grandparents.

Do grandparents have the right to visit their grandchildren?

Typically, grandparents cannot file for visitation rights when a grandchild’s parents are still legally married. However, the state does have a few exceptions, which include:

  • The parents are living in separate locations
  • Either parents’ whereabouts are unknown for at least 30 days
  • One parent supports the grandparent’s petition for visitation
  • The child does not live with their parents
  • The grandchild got adopted by a stepparent

While these loopholes are in place, California law states that if any changes occur during the parents’ divorce, these exceptions may no longer be valid.

It can be hard to put feelings aside

Divorce can be emotional for any family, especially when kids get involved. The idea of losing quality time with a grandchild can bring tears to any grandparent’s eyes. Luckily, there are ways families can openly and safely establish parental custody. That way, the kids can maintain strong bonds with grandparents and other relatives on both sides.