Grandparents Legal Rights – Are There Any Guarantees?
We’d LOVE to be able to tell all those loving California grandparents out there that they have a foolproof legal right – a guarantee – to time with their grandchildren. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
In fact, the term, “grandparents’ rights”, is a misnomer of sorts. There is no absolute right – no guarantee that you can obtain visitation without permission of your grandchild’s parent(s).
In California Parents Make the Rules.
As you might guess, it’s the parents who make the rules and determine who spends time with their children. Parents are entitled to make the lifestyle, general welfare, educational, religious, and medical decisions for their child, and the courts support this right. That usually includes whether or not the children get to see their grandparents
There is Good News for Grandparents
Grandparents may not have a legal “right” to grandchildren visitation; however (and it’s a big “however”), under certain circumstances, grandparents are granted visitation – even against parental wishes. In this scenario, a grandparent must overcome a difficult legal presumption that it is not in the child’s best interest to visit with the grandparent. In cases where no divorce or similar proceeding is established, a grandparent may not even have standing to petition the court for visitation rights.
Show Grandparent Visitation is in the Best Interests of Your Grandchild
In California, once a grandparent is before the court, two important elements will need to be demonstrated:
- The best interests of the grandchild.
- A Pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild
The Bottom Line: If you wish to visit with your grandchild against the wishes of his or her parent(s), it’s imperative that you show that visiting with you is in the best interests of the child – it’s not about what you want – it’s about the child.
Showing that you had a relationship with your grandchild before the parent(s) cut off contact, also helps your case. The stronger the pre-existing relationship, the better for your case.
Grandparents’ Visitation “Rights” – The Law
California grandparent rights such as they exist are codified in California state law. If you click the highlighted link, you’ll be taken directly to the relevant statute.
If you want to know how the Grandparents’ rights law applies to your individual situation, it’s likely in your best interests to consult with a qualified California family law attorney. We welcome your call at 415.398.1290.
Or, you are also welcome to contact our Grandparents’ Rights lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org. We wish you and your grandchildren the very best.