As a Grandparent, What Rights Do I Have to Visitation?

As a Grandparent, What Rights Do I Have to Visitation?
Grandparents can be a stabilizing force for children whose parents divorce or legally separate. Indeed, the California Legislature has recognized this, providing affirmatively for grandparent visitation.

Sections 3100-3105
of the California Family Code describe the circumstances under which grandparents may obtain visitation with their grandchildren.

When One Parent Is Deceased

It is easiest for a grandparent to obtain visitation when one of the parents is deceased. In such an unfortunate case, a court need only determine that grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child.

However, a grandparent cannot use this provision of the law if the child has been adopted by someone other than a stepparent or another grandparent. Likewise, if a grandparent previously obtained visitation under this section of the law, the visitation automatically terminates if the child is adopted by someone other than a stepparent or another grandparent.

Other Cases of Grandparent Visitation

If both parents are alive but divorced, a grandparent who wants visitation with his or her grandchild must proceed under a different law. Under that law, before reasonable grandparent visitation may be granted, a court must do two things: (1) find that the two have had a relationship in the past that “engendered a bond” between them, rendering visitation in the child’s best interest; and (2) balance the child’s interest in grandparent visitation with the parents’ right to “exercise their parental authority.” Cal. Fam. Code § 3104.

However, a court may not order grandparent visitation when the parents are still married unless one of the following six circumstances exist:

  • The parents are either permanently or indefinitely separated;
  • The whereabouts of one of the parents have been unknown to the other parent for at least one month;
  • One of the parents joins the petition for grandparent visitation;
  • The child does not live with either parent;
  • A stepparent has adopted the child; or
  • One of the parents is either in jail or has been institutionalized.

In these limited circumstances, grandparent visitation may be granted; however, if the supporting circumstance ends, either parent may successfully move to have grandparent visitation terminated.

The attorneys at The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger have extensive legal experience in family law matters. We have handled all types of visitation requests, including those involving grandparents. Contact us today at (415) 259-6636 to learn how we can help you in this area.

A California Court Can Give Grandparents Visitation in the Right Circumstances

Grandparent visitation
Grandparent visitation
A photo popped up on my Facebook feed recently with a caption that said, “Grandchildren are your reward for not killing your children.”  While some parents may be clinging to this hope during their kids’ teenage years, others are wondering when they will see their grandchildren after a son or daughter’s divorce. Fortunately, California law allows grandparents the right to petition the court for visitation. The general standard for a court to order grandparents’ visitation requires grandparents to show the following evidence:
  1. The grandparents must show that      there was a pre-divorce relationship between the grandparents and a grandchild      that has “engendered a bond.”  This means that there is such a bond      between grandparent and grandchild that continued grandparent visitation      is in best interest of the grandchild, and
  2. The grandparents must show that it      is in the best interest of the child to have visitation with the      grandparents, and that such best interest can be balanced with the parents’      rights to make decisions about their child.
If you are a grandparent grieving your child’s divorce and the loss of regular visitation with your grandchild, contact an experienced California family law attorney as soon as possible.  The risk is that if you wait too long, a court may find that any bond which existed before the divorce deteriorated while you rested on your rights.  Contact us today without delay. The Law Offices of Judy L. Burger can assist you in fighting for your rights as grandparents.  Judy L. Burger is known for her aggressive representation of clients in high conflict cases in and around the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento areas. If you are a grandparent with a visitation issue, call us today to learn more about how we can help. Call (415)293-8314 in the San Francisco Bay area or (916)631-1935 in the Sacramento area, or contact us online via our confidential inquiry form.