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What are grandparents' rights?

Grandparents' rights can be a delicate family law issue for some families. As a result, families should ensure that they understand what grandparents' rights refer to and when they may be available.

Grandparents may have certain child custody and visitation rights depending on the situation and the state where their grandchildren reside. Sometimes grandparents' visitation rights are referred to as nonparent visitation rights or third-party visitation rights. They are based on the notion that children will do better in life if they have family members, including grandparents, around to support them.

In some circumstances, grandparents pursue visitation rights following a divorce to ensure that they can remain in the child's life and see the child.

Once a request for grandparent visitation has been made, the court will examine a variety of factors to determine if the request is in the best interests of the child. Child custody determinations are always guided by what is in the best interests of the child. Factors the court may evaluate include the child's relationship with the nonparent; the relationship between the nonparent and child's parent or guardian; the last time the child had contact with the nonparent requesting visitation; the impact of visitation on the relationship between the child and parent or legal guardian; the impact the grandparent visitation will have on the time the child has available to spend with parents and other family members; any history of abuse; and any other relevant factors.

Grandparent visitation can still be a controversial issue legally and within families, which is why family members should ensure they have all their questions about grandparent visitation answered. Knowing how a request for grandparent visitation will be addressed can be beneficial for grandparents and parents alike.

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