After a divorce or separation, grandparents in California may be left wondering whether they will still be allowed to visit their grandchildren. There are certain guidelines in the state that deal with grandparents’ visitation rights.
Below are a few things you should know about grandparents’ rights after a divorce.
Grandparents can ask for visitation
Parents can always try to arrange grandparent visitation without a court order. However, in some cases, parents attempt to bar grandparents from visiting their grandchildren, in which case the grandparent may wish to petition the court for visitation rights.
Courts will not accept petitions for grandparent visitation if the parents are still married, unless there are extenuating circumstances such as a separation, the child is not living with either parent, the child has been adopted by a stepparent or one of the parents is incarcerated.
Grandparents that choose to file for visitation rights must serve a copy of the petition to each parent, stepparent and anyone else with physical custody of the child. Courts will automatically send these cases to mediation and, if the parties are unable to settle the matter, the case will be heard by the court.
A judge who oversees a grandparent visitation case will start by assuming grandparent visitation should not be allowed if both parents agree the grandparent should not have any visitation rights. However, grandparents can attempt to prove visitation is in the best interests of the child. In these cases, courts will consider: