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Can a Grandparent Get Visitation Rights?

As a grandparent, your relationship with your grandchildren is a fulfilling and important aspect of life. However, due to a split in the family, you might have visits with your grandchildren stripped away. Not being able to spend time with your grandchildren can be emotionally distressing both for you and for them. If you have been prevented from seeing your grandchildren, you can seek visitation rights.

In California, a court may grant visitation rights to a grandparent if it is established that there is a bond between the grandchild and grandparent that benefits the grandchild. Additionally, the court must weigh the impact that allowing grandparent visitation would have on the grandchild’s relationship with their parents.

If your grandchildren’s parents are still married, you can request grandparent visitation rights only if:

  • The parents are permanently or indefinitely separated
  • One parent has been missing for over a month, and the other parent has no information as to where the missing is located
  • One parent agrees with in writing to your request for visitation
  • Your grandchild doesn’t live with either parent
  • A stepparent has adopted your grandchild
  • One parent is institutionalized or incarcerated

If any of these conditions no longer apply, then the parents can request for your visitation rights to be revoked by the court.

If you are eligible to file a petition for visitation rights in California, you will first need to determine if there is already a family law case opened that involves your grandchild — like a divorce. If there is, you can file your petition for visitation under that case. If there is not a case, you will have to initiate one.

After your petition has been filed with the court, you will be given a court date. Prior to going to court, you might be asked to go to mediation with your grandchild’s parents. In California, mediation is meant to allow all parties to come together to reach an agreement. 

If you can’t decide on a visitation arrangement in mediation, or if your case is given a court date after filing, you will attend a hearing where a judge will determine if grandparent visitation is in the best interests of your grandchild. To decide this, the judge will evaluate all the relevant factors, including your existing relationship with your grandchild.

It is essential to work with an experienced family law attorney when trying to establish visitation rights as a grandparent. A California lawyer who represents grandparents in family law matters can assist you in seeking a timeshare agreement for your grandchildren.

The family law attorneys at Strategic Law Command, located in Roseville, understand the complexities of family law matters and are here to support you and the best interests of your grandchildren. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, call (916) 787-1234 or contact us online.