Law Office of Bradley R. Tengler, P.C.

Securing visitation rights as a grandparent

Proper support is essential to the full development of a child. Grandparents are usually a strong part of that support system. However, divorce can put a strain on that relationship.

If you, as a grandparent, desire to see your grandchild more often, or at all, after a divorce, it may be beneficial to seek visitation through the courts. Before embarking on that journey, note a few key items.

The law

No federal laws grant automatic visitation to grandparents, and the state law does not apply in all situations. However, grandparents may seek visitation through the courts. The grandparent must file a petition and support it in court. If a parent opposes the visitation request, she or he will also have a chance to present his or her side during proceedings.

The child's interest

For the court to grant you visitation, you must prove it is in the best interest of the child to spend time with you. In other words, you must show your presence in the child's life is essential to his or her well-being, physically and emotionally. On the contrary, if the child's parent presents an argument that shows visitation with you is not in the child's best interest, the court may prohibit visitation. If one parent opposes your visitation but the other allows it, you may still have a standing for visitation rights.

Grounds for custody

In certain cases, when neither parent is fit or able to provide a stable, healthy environment for the child, it may be possible for a grandparent to file for custody. The grandparent must present solid evidence to back such a claim, and the court may award partial or full custody.

It is important to keep the needs of the child first above anything else. If there is any way for you to work out visitation with the child's parents, you should try to exhaust that route before resulting to other means.

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