Visitation Rights for Grandparents
Divorces can be messy. While primary custody is most often given to one of the parents, or shared, other family members deserve to stay in touch with the children of a divorced couple too. Grandparents are an integral part of most children’s upbringing, and may be left out of the custody or visitation rights agreement if they or others do not take action. Under California law, a grandparent has the right to ask the court’s permission for legal visitation rights. If you wish to stay in touch with your grandchildren, there are options to take in order to guarantee that that happens, and talking with an experienced child custody attorney may offer just the help you need. Don’t let this go to chance; contact an attorney today to discuss your options.
The Role Grandparents Play in American Homes
Grandparents are becoming ever more crucial in American households these days due to a variety of reasons, such as high divorce rates, teenage pregnancies, absentee parents, one or both parents being incarcerated, abusive parents, parents that are addicted to a substance, lack of affordable childcare in the U.S., a slower economy, and other reasons, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Not only do grandparents provide stability in all scenarios, not just those in divided families, they also provide financial and emotional support, as well as child care and supportive reassurance to the children and parents.
Visitation Is Left to the Parents’ and the Court’s Decisions
If the court decides that there was, in fact, a preexisting relationship between the grandchildren and their grandparents, visitation may be deemed in the best interest of the grandchildren. This is termed an “engendered bond.” The court may likely leave the final decision up to the parents, or discuss with the parents what the best interest of the children may be in regards to spending time with them and the grandparents. However, if the parents are still married and living together, the court will not grant visitation rights to the grandparents. This would negate the visitation rights of the grandparents in the scenario that they and the parents are not on good terms and are arguing about whether the grandparents can have access to the grandchildren. However, there are exceptions to the rule. A grandparent may be given visitation rights by the court if the parents are still married in the following scenarios:
- The parents are married but living apart;
- One of the parents has been missing for a long time (at least one month);
- One of the parents agrees to the court-approved visitation;
- The grandchild does not live with their parents; or
- The grandchild was adopted by a stepparent.
However, once the court-approved visitations are in place, they may not last forever. If any of the above situations change, such as one of the parents coming home from being missing, one or both of the parents can ask the court to discontinue the visitation rights held by the grandparents. When heading down the path of achieving court-approved visitation rights as a grandparent, the advice and legal backing of an experienced San Jose child custody attorney is essentially priceless. Contact Gemma V. Reyes, Attorney at Law today at 408-292-6289.