A divorce can be painful for nearly all members of a family—especially the grandparents involved. A divorce can weaken the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, even ending it in some cases. Many struggle with the frustration of not being able to see their grandchildren and not being able to be a part of their lives. In some states, California included, a grandparent can still seek rights to a relationship with their grandchildren if certain circumstances are present. These are known as grandparents' rights.
Taking a Closer Look at Grandparents’ Rights
Depending on circumstances, a grandparent may be able to seek visitation rights or even custody of a grandchild in California. A court will evaluate the child’s circumstances and relationship to the parents in determining whether the grandparent may file a petition for visitation.
In these circumstances, a grandparent may be able to request visitation:
- If the child’s parents are living separately
- If one of the child’s parents have been absent for a minimum of one month
- If the child has been adopted by a stepparent
- If the grandparent and one parent pursue the petition
- If the child lives with neither of the parents
A judge will usually evaluate the relationship and bond that previously existed between the grandparent and the child and whether or not grandparent visitation is both in the child’s best interests and in compliance with the parent’s right to decision making. Usually, both of the child’s parents would have to have passed away in order for a grandparent to pursue legal custody of a grandchild. If one parent lives, the grandparent would have to prove that parent unfit to care for a child in order to obtain custody.
Divorce Doesn’t Cut You Out of the Picture
In many cases, grandparents are able to successfully pursue visitation and build a strong relationship with their grandchildren if it is in the child’s best interests. A child's best interests are usually explored by minor's counsel. To craft an effective petition for visitation, it is necessary to enlist the help of a skilled Pasadena family law attorney. At Gille Law Group, a board-certified lawyer can help you pursue your rights as a grandparent and fight for a relationship with your loved ones. With over 80 years of combined experience, your case is in capable hands.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation!