Divorce is hard on individuals, couples and children, but it also affects those who are outside of the nuclear family.
Loving grandparents can become victims when complicated family matters prevent them from spending quality time with their young grandchildren.
Legal reasons for grandparents’ rights
California family court evaluates situations on a case-by-case basis, but there are some circumstances where grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights. These include situations where:
- One of the parents of the children has passed away
- The child does not reside with either parent
- The parents get divorced or were never legally married
- There is a pending custody case in a California family court
- The parents are legally married with a permanent separation agreement in place
- A stepparent has adopted the child and the biological grandparent wishes to remain involved
Judges’ considerations when making decisions
If there is a basis for grandparents’ rights, and the grandparents can provide proof of an existing relationship that serves the best interest of the children, courts may grant visitation. However, if the reason for the petition no longer applies to the situation, a judge may reverse the decision and revoke the judgment. Additionally, courts generally do not attempt to rule against the wishes of parents unless there are extenuating circumstances. Therefore, if parents object to the grandparents having visitation rights, judges will consider the reasons why.
Grandparents have a special and essential role in the lives of their grandchildren, and thankfully, the California family court system recognizes and works to support family bonding during difficult times.