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Grandparents’ Rights

Grandparents’ Rights

Under California law, grandparents are granted the right to request and receive visitation with a grandchild under certain circumstances. Generally speaking, if the child’s parents are still married, grandparents are not entitled to request visitation from the court, but there are exceptions to this.

California Family Code sections 3100-3105 detail a grandparent’s rights to petition for visitation, although it is not commonly granted and can be difficult to obtain. A skilled California grandparents’ rights attorney can help you understand your rights and the legal process involved, as well as assess the specific factors impacting your case.

When can Grandparents Petition for Visitation in California?

In California, there are certain circumstances that will qualify a grandparent to petition the court for visitation of a grandchild. Before reasonable visitation with a grandparent can be considered, the court must:

  • Determine that the grandparent and grandchild had a pre-existing relationship that has “engendered a bond,” and because of this bond visitation with the grandparent is in the child’s best interest, and
  • Consider the parents’ rights to make decisions about what is best for their child, and balance this with the grandparent’s rights.

If a family law case has already been filed involving the grandchild’s parents, such as a divorce or paternity case, the grandparents may join that legal action. If no case currently exits, grandparents will need to file a petition with the court to request visitation. Grandparents may petition for visitation if one or more of these circumstances exist:

  • One of the parents is deceased
  • One parent’s whereabouts are unknown
  • The child’s parents are living separately or have been granted an annulment or divorce
  • The child does not live with either parent but with a third party

Unfortunately, there is no standard court form or petition for this grandparent filing, which can make the process difficult without the assistance of an experienced family law attorney. 

Proving Your Right to Grandparent Visitation 

In the event both of the child’s parents sign an affidavit that says allowing their child to spend time with the grandparent is not in the best interests of the child, the petition will typically be denied. Even if your situation falls under the aforementioned circumstances, there is a presumption that parents will act in the best interests of their child. This means you have to prove that the parents not allowing you to see your grandchild will create a substantial risk of harm to the child’s health.  

Retaining a Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

Children benefit from having a robust support system around them, which often includes grandparents.  This is one reason why California law acknowledges that when a grandparent and grandchild have a healthy bond, it may be in the child’s best interest to maintain that relationship, despite other changes in the child’s life. If you are unable to spend time with your grandchild, you may be able to file a petition for grandparents’ rights.

At Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, we have helped many families resolve difficult family law issues and begin moving toward a more positive future.  If you need assistance pursuing your grandparent visitation rights, contact our offices to schedule a consultation.

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