Grandparent Visitation in California

Hossein Berenji, Jul 30, 2016

Grandparents can play an incredibly important role in the development of young children. Having many positive figures involved in raising a child can lead to better child development and a more supportive environment in which to raise the child. However, there are certain cases in which a child’s parents or guardian decides that he or she does not want the child’s grandparents to be involved in the rearing of the child.

Do Grandparents Have any Visitation Rights in California?

California law affords grandparents the opportunity to have reasonable visitation with a grandchild in certain situations. The Courts in California allow grandparents to ask for reasonable visitation if the court finds that there is a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the child.

The courts in California refer to this relationship as “engendering a bond.” The court will look to see if this bond is in the best interest of the child. In addition to examining if there is a relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent, the court will balance the right of the parents to make decisions about their child with the grandparents having visitation rights. Because of the complexity of this issue, it’s best to have a Los Angeles divorce and family law attorney assist you in gaining visitation.

What Prevents Grandparents from Getting Visitation Rights?

The courts in California will give considerable deference to parents’ decisions of how to raise their children including whether or not it is appropriate for grandparents to be involved in the child’s life. In general, grandparents cannot ask for visitation when the child’s parents are married. However, there are a few exceptions including when the child’s parents are living separately, a parent has been missing for at least a month, one of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation, or the child has been adopted by the grandparent.

How Does a Grandparent Ask a Court for Visitation?

A grandparent who wants visitation can begin by petitioning a court. While this sounds straightforward, there may be many unexpected obstacles to this petition being filed. There may be an existing family court case that the grandparent may join. There may be no open case and the grandparent will have to start a suit from the beginning.

An experienced family law attorney in Los Angeles can help determine if there are any open cases or if you must start your own. After a petition has been filed, you must submit the appropriate forms. These forms will help indicate to the judge why you should be allowed to a have visitation with your grandchild. After these forms are reviewed, you need to make three copies of each form and file them with the clerk of court to get your court or mediation date. Once you have your court date, you must notify the parents of the child of your intent to seek custody. These papers must be served on anyone who has physical custody of your grandchild.

Are You a Grandparent Seeking to Visit Your Grandchild?

Being a grandparent can bring a lot of joy. If you want to visit with your grandchild, contact us today. The Los Angeles divorce lawyers at Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers have over 20 years of experience in developing visitation agreements. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.