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Understanding Grandparents' Rights in California

When a couple goes through a divorce, their split can impact the entire family. Aunts, uncles, and grandparents could be affected by the new custody arrangement agreed to in the divorce. Family members who once visited every week or saw one another for frequent outings might now worry about when their next visit will come. Fortunately, California has certain laws in place to protect the rights of grandparents in such situations. If your child has gone through a divorce, you, as a grandparent, have certain visitation rights provided for you under state laws. In order to ensure you get the quality time with your grandchildren that you, and they, deserve, find out how these rights work.

The Court’s View

When it comes to custody and visitation agreements, California courts try to make choices based on what is best for the children. As a general rule, the courts tend to try to allow children as much time as possible with the family members who love them. In custody arrangements, this means that, if possible, the courts usually prefer joint custody arrangements or parenting arrangements where the noncustodial parent is allowed visitation. Those visitation rights also extend to the grandparents.

The divorce process can be difficult for families, children especially. For this reason, the court acknowledges the importance of the support the child can receive from their grandparents and values those visitation rights. In an ideal situation, the parents will allow the grandparents to have time with their children for their own good, rather than refusing and forcing the court to intervene. However, there are some situations in which court intervention is the best, and only, option in order to assert those visitation rights.

How Visitation Will Be Determined

Before the court grants visitation rights to grandparents, they will consider a few factors. First, the grandparents and grandchildren must have an existing relationship. If there is no established relationship between the two, the court may find that granting grandparent visitation rights would not be in the best interest of the children.

The court will consider the following before making a decision about visitation:

  • The age of the child
  • Whether or not the child has siblings, and where they live
  • The relationship the child has with the grandparents
  • The mental and physical health of the grandparents
  • The stability of the grandparents’ home environment, and thether or not the grandparents use drugs or alcohol
  • Whether or not the child has special needs
  • The death or incarceration of either parent

If you are looking to obtain visitation rights in order to spend more time with your grandchildren, our firm wants to help. We understand how important it is to obtain quality time with those you love, and we want to use our legal skills to support your wishes.

Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices, discuss your case with our Murrieta family law attorneys.