Grandparent Visitation Rights
Most grandparents are eager to spend as much time with their grandchildren as possible. They’re famous for “spoiling” their children’s offspring and indulging their every whim. When they live near the child’s parents, it’s like having a built-in (and free) babysitter. For most families, this seems like a match made in heaven, but other families want to distance themselves from the grandparents.
Circumstances that Allow for Visitation
If certain conditions are met, grandparents may petition the court for the right to see their grandchildren.
There are three basic tenets, and one of three must be met before petitioning the family law court:
- The parents must be legally separated. Just because they are in separate homes does not automatically qualify this condition. Legal paperwork must have been filed.
- The child is in someone else’s legal custody.
- The child’s parent has died. In this circumstance, the grandparent petitioning must be the parent of the deceased.
The Bottom Line
Since this landmark case, grandparent visitation has become more challenging than ever. Often, what decides the outcome is the judge assigned to hear the plea. To win visitation, the grandparents would have to prove the following:
- They’ve had a critical role in the child’s life and upbringing.
- There must be compelling evidence that the parent is acting unreasonably.
The priority of the courts is to act in the best interest of the child while upholding the laws set forth by the U.S. Constitution. If visitation is granted, keep in mind that the courts can withdraw privileges or modify them at any time if they feel that the child’s interests or well-being are at stake.