Understanding Grandparents’ Rights in California

Understanding Grandparents’ Rights in California

Date: Jul 28, 2023
In: Divorce

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Understanding Grandparents’ Rights in California

The rights of grandparents in California are a complex issue. Grandparents do not have any legal rights to visitation with their grandchildren as a matter of course, but there are situations in which California courts will grant visitation orders. If you are interested in learning more about your ability to obtain court-ordered visitation with your grandchildren, do not wait to address the matter with an experienced California family law attorney today.

The Children’s Best Interests 

Because California courts always focus on the best interests of the involved children, there are instances when they consider granting grandparent visitation. The primary elements that must be present include the following:

  • The grandparents have a preexisting relationship with the children that has resulted in a bond, which makes visitation in the children’s best interests. 
  • The best interests of the children, as supported by visitation with the grandparents, outweigh the parent’s primary right to make decisions about whom their children spend time with.

In other words, the bar is quite high when it comes to obtaining visitation with your grandchildren, which makes having skilled legal guidance on your side key.  

Generally, the Parents Cannot Be Married

California family law courts will not grant grandparent visitation if the children’s parents are married to one another unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • One of the parents supports and has joined the grandparents’ petition for visitation.
  • The parents live separately and apart from one another on either a permanent or ongoing basis. 
  • The children do not live with either biological parent.
  • The whereabouts of one of the parents are unknown and have been for at least a month.
  • The grandchildren have been adopted by a stepparent.
  • One of the parents is either incarcerated or institutionalized. 

California courts are squarely in support of the rights of parents over nonparents, and when both parents are united in their decision not to allow grandparent visitation, they almost universally prevail. 

Filing for Visitation

In order to seek visitation with your grandchildren, you will need to file a petition requesting it. If your grandchildren’s parents already have a divorce, paternity, or child custody case pending, your petition for visitation with your grandchildren can join this case. If not, however, you will need to file your own petition with the family court, which will open an entirely new case. Because there are no official legal forms for seeking grandparents’ rights, having legal counsel in your corner is that much more important. 

Reach Out for the Legal Guidance of an Experienced California Family Law Attorney Today

The well-respected California family law attorneys at Miranda, Magden & Miranda, LLP, have a wealth of experience helping grandparents obtain visitation rights that – in turn – allow them to build close, lasting relationships with their grandchildren. Your ongoing relationship with your grandchildren is not only important to you but is also important to them, so please do not put off contacting us for more information about what we can do to help you today.

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