Ask a Divorce Attorney – Grandparents’ Rights Cases
Contrary to popular belief, grandparents do not have the absolute right to having a relationship with their grandchildren. In fact, under current California law, grandparents can ask the court for visitation orders granting visitation with a grandchild but only under limited circumstances.
In order for a family court judge to make grandparent visitation orders, the court must find that there was a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild that has “engendered a bond.” This means that there is such a bond between grandparent and grandchild that visitation is in best interest of the grandchild.
The court must also balance the best interest of the child in having visitation with a grandparent against the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child. The right of a parent to make decisions affecting the child’s upbringing is a constitutionally protected right.
Generally, so long as the parents of the child are married and living together, grandparents have no right to request visitation and any motion made would be denied by the court. However, once the parents separate and/or divorce, a grandparent may be able to obtain visitation orders so long as a bond has previously been established between grandparent and grandchild.
Grandparents may also seek visitation with grandchildren over the objection of one parent when their own child (the other parent) has passed away. This allows for the children to maintain a connection with both sides of the family despite on parent having passed away.