Grandparent’s Rights

Orange County Grandparents Rights Attorney

Grandparents Rights

Under certain circumstances, a grandparent has a legal right to have visitation with a grandchild. Though the law provides narrow grounds when this can be ordered, it does offer the possibility to some grandparents. We represent grandparents who want to have a relationship with grandchildren and make the most of California law. An Orange County grandparents rights attorney can help you evaluate your situation and make a plan to establish visitation.

Most family courts in California only have the power to issue orders that apply when grandparents have a significant connection to the minor child. If you want your grandchild to have time with you, family law courts cannot make this happen unless you have a significant connection, both parents join in agreement, or the Court overrides the parent’s rights. 

If grandparents do not live close by, they will likely need to hire an Orange County family lawyer who can request overnight stays for their grandchild (visitation). If grandparents want their grandchild to visit them several times a year, we can help them petition the family court for visitation rights even if both parents agree that their child should not see their family.

Under state law, you can request reasonable visitation with a grandchild from the court. For that to be granted, the court must

  • Find that there was a pre-existing relationship between you and your grandchild which has “engendered a bond” between the two of you, which means that there is such a bond between grandparent and grandchild that visitation is in your grandchild’s best interests, and
  • Balance those best interests of the child in having visitation with you against the rights of parents to make decisions about their child

You cannot normally file a request for visitation rights while your grandchild’s parents are married, as there are very limited exceptions.

Exceptions When Filing For Visitation Rights

  • The death of one or both parents;
  • Incarceration or drug rehabilitation of one or both parents;
  • One parent supports the grandparents having visitation; or
  • Absenteeism of one parent or no longer in contact with the children.

Factors Considered When Making Visitation Plans

  • The nature, quality, and duration of your relationship with your grandchild; 
  • Whether you’re acting as a parent or whether another family member is acting as a parent; 
  • What effect on the child will denial of visitation have;
  • How much time has elapsed since contact between you and your grandchild has occurred; 
  • The degree to which it may be difficult for family members (including parents) to plan their lives; 
  • The age of the child; 
  • Whether you are acting responsibly or appropriately regarding interactions with your grandchild.

If the court grants your request for visitation, but conditions have changed, and none of these exceptions apply, one or both parents can ask the judge to end your visitation, and the visitation rights must end at that time. A family law attorney can help with these issues.

If family members are still in the middle of a family law case, all visitation must comply with their family court orders. Visitation schedules may be modified to meet changing circumstances—for example, if you experience health problems, your grandchild’s parents lose their jobs, or family emergencies arise. 

Negotiating a Visitation Schedule

When family members still have family law cases pending, it can be difficult to negotiate an appropriate visitation schedule. You and your grandchild’s parents may need the help of a family law professional or family mediator to work out a visitation agreement. If family members agree on a visitation plan and submit it to the court, and if the judge agrees that the arrangement is in everyone’s best interest, it will become part of the family court order for custody.

If you cannot reach an agreement with your grandchild’s parents, you can ask the family court judge to impose a visitation schedule on them. To do that, however, you must come prepared with evidence that complying with your request would be in your grandchild’s best interests. For example, you might show family court judges that your grandchild has bonded with you and needs regular contact with you.

Or, family members may be able to come to an informal agreement on their own through mediation or other family-based dispute resolution processes available in the family law courts. Family mediators do not make decisions for family members; rather, they help family members communicate so they can together develop a parenting plan that meets both their children’s needs and their family circumstances.There are presumptions in the law in favor of parents’ rights to decide what is best for their children, and there are things parents can do to prevent your visitation, but each case is judged on its merits. Don’t let these issues stand in the way of you reaching out to us to learn more about grandparents’ visitation rights. We will get you in contact with a Grandparents Rights Attorney Orange County based practitioner to talk about your situation and how the law might apply to you and your grandchild. Contact Kaufman Steinberg today.

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