I sometimes receive questions regarding what rights, if any, grandparents have with respect to visitation with their grandchild. For example, when a parent dies, some grandparents worry that they will not have an opportunity to establish a meaningful relationship (or any relationship at all) with their grandchild because their surviving son-in-law or daughter-in-law may prevent them from seeing their grandchild. In these cases, grandparents are entitled to ask the court to grant them reasonable visitation to their grandchild.
In order to be awarded visitation, the court must find that the visitation would be in the best interests of the child and that it would not interfere with the parent-child relationship. In making this determination, the court must consider the amount of personal contact between the grandparents and the child that occurred prior to the grandparents seeking relief from the court.
Additionally, regardless of whether a parent of a child is deceased, grandparents may also have visitation rights: (i) when the parents of their grandchild get divorced; (ii) during or after a custody proceeding (in the case of unmarried parents); or (iii) when their grandchild has resided with them for twelve months or more and is subsequently removed from the residence by a parent. In these cases, the standard is the same: the court must find that the visitation would be in the best interests of the child and that it would not interfere with the parent-child relationship.
Regardless of the circumstances, being able to spend time with their grandchild is very important to many grandparents. In situations where grandparents fear that they may not be allowed to spend time with their grandchild, it is important to have an advocate who understands the law and can present a strong case to the judge.
How Much Does It Cost?
Each situation has its own complexities and there are many aspects to discuss to understand the details of your situation and advise you accurately. We have an experienced attorney here who would be happy to analyze your situation’s circumstances and advise you of your legal rights and options. This can generally be accomplished during a one-hour meeting (which can be by phone). Our fee for a one-hour meeting is $300. Work beyond that initial hour is at usual hourly rates. We do not offer free consultations on this type of work.