It can be devastating news to hear that your son or daughter is getting divorced, even when that divorce is for the best. One of the biggest concerns for California grandparents is whether the divorce will change the amount of time they get to spend with their grandchildren.

The good news is that there are resources and paths to seek visitation with your grandchildren after a divorce. California law stipulates that a grandparent can ask the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild. With some exceptions, grandparents typically can only file for visitation if the parents are not still married and not living together.

Two necessary things for visitation

In California, the court allows for reasonable visitation with a grandchild if you have a pre-existing relationship with your grandchild or grandchildren and this relationship is good for the grandchild or children.

You are likely to be allowed visitation if your wanting to see your grand kids does not impinge upon the parents’ rights to make decisions about their child or children.

California family law code and grandparents’ rights

Sections 3103-3104 of the California Family Law Code is pretty clear that grandparents can seek visitation if it is in the best interest of the grandchild. There are some instances when the court may not allow visitation. These include:

  • If there has been a protective order against you
  • If it is determined that your visits are not in the best interest of the child
  • If your visitation would conflict with the grandchild’s birth parents’ custody

The best interest of the child is determined by asking four questions. Is the child is considered safe with you? Has there been any history of physical abuse with you and the child? Are either alcohol or drug use a concern? And finally, why do you want to see your grandchild and how often? Children under 14 are not typically asked if they want to see their grandparents, but children over 14 are often included in the conversation about grandparent visitation.