Los Angeles Grandparent Rights Attorney
The Importance of Grandparents in Children’s Lives
Grandparents are often a major part of a child’s upbringing. They can play numerous roles, including caregiver, friend, and support system. Children frequently look forward to spending time with their grandparents and making memories that they will carry with them throughout their lives. When parents choose to get a divorce, grandparents can be in peril of losing contact with their grandchildren. Thankfully, the state of California provides protections for grandparents who want to ensure that they will be able to maintain contact with their grandkids down the line.
When Do Grandparents Have the Right to See Their Grandchildren?
In California, grandparents are not deprived of the right to see and spend time with their grandchildren. In general, these rights exist when the parents of a grandchild decide to separate or divorce. However, grandparents might have the ability to assert their legal right to visitation if:
- The child’s parents are not able to be located;
- Parents no longer have physical custody of their child;
- One or both of the child’s parents are incarcerated;
- The grandchild gets adopted by a step-parent;
- Parents are deemed to be unfit to retain custody of the child; or
- A parent comes together with the grandparent in filing a petition for visitation.
How Are Grandparents Able to Assert Their Rights?
Grandparents in the state of California have the right to petition a court for a reasonable visitation arrangement with their grandchild. When the court gets this petition, they will deliver a determination that is in the best interests of the grandchild. Two primary factors exist that can help the Los Angeles family court judge figure out if a grandparent’s petition for visitation should be granted.
- First, the judge will search for a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild. The courts will be more inclined to give their approval to a grandparent’s request for visitation when there is proof that there is a genuine bond between the grandparent and grandchild. In forming this determination, a judge can ask for witness statements and testimony, look at photographs and video footage, and even talk with the child directly.
- Second, a judge will weigh the pros and cons of approving the grandparent’s request and superseding a parent’s ability to make decisions about their own child. The fact is that a grandparent generally doesn’t have any need to file a legal request to see their grandchildren if the parents are agreeable. A court might be hesitant to override a parent’s decision unless they are shown significant evidence to support the grandparent’s cause.
A Grandparent Rights Petition Supported by a Parent
A grandparent’s petition can be more successful if it is supported by one of the child’s parents. For example, in a scenario where Jane and Bob get a divorce. In the divorce, each parent gets awarded joint physical custody of their six-year-old daughter, Ann. Since Ann was born, Jane’s mother has established a genuine and deep connection with Ann, and would like to continue to see her grandchild on a regular basis. Bob informs the court that he has no interest in keeping his daughter in contact with her grandmother. Ann’s grandmother has the right to file a petition with the court, supported by her daughter Jane, to request visitation rights. The fact that Jane is on the petition as a collaborator will help to support her mother’s request.
Grandparents Might Want to Consider Mediation
Mediation is an excellent dispute resolution tool that is much less costly and less time-consuming than heading to court. Mediation also furnishes a safe space for grandparents and a child’s parents to talk through their concerns and arrive at a mutually-agreeable compromise. Utilizing mediation can help to encourage positive emotions and keep children from having front row seats to a nasty legal dispute. If you are considering the possibility of asserting your rights as a grandparent, but wish to avoid the time and cost of court, call a Certified Family Law Specialist. Your lawyer can review your case, explain the process of mediation, and answer any questions you might have.
Have the parents of your grandchild recently gone through a separation or divorce? Do you believe that your grandchild’s parents could be declared unfit to have custody? Are you concerned that a new step-parent may try to minimize the amount of time you have to spend with your grandchild? Get in touch with a family law who has experience in grandparent rights to find out about your legal rights as a grandparent. When you are a grandparent, you do indeed have the legal right to see and visit your grandchild. You can assert this right in the form of a formal petition that you can file with the court, or you can assert it by pursuing an amicable resolution through mediation. Regardless of which route you would like to pursue, our experienced lawyers can assist you.
The bond between a child and grandparent can be extremely special and valuable. A well informed Certified Family Law Specialist will fight to protect your relationship. When you hire a Los Angeles family law attorney, he or she can craft a custom legal argument that is created for the purpose of securing visitation rights with your grandchild. Your seasoned attorney should be able to anticipate the arguments made by a resistant parent and be prepared to defend against any claims they might make. The right lawyer can help you protect the relationship you have with your grandchild.