Board Certified
Family Law Specialists
Serving Northern California

Grandparents may have a right to visitation in California

| Mar 6, 2019 | Family Law |

Grandparents are often worried that their grandchildren won’t see them often after a divorce. This is a fair concern, especially if there are disputes between the children’s parents or families.

The good news is that the courts in California recognize a grandparent’s role in a child’s life. Under California’s laws, grandparents are able to seek reasonable visitation rights with their grandchildren. To be able to award those rights, the court needs to see that

  • The grandchild and grandparent have a preexisting bond and relationship. This would mean that it is in the best interests of the child for the grandparent to remain in their life.
  • Awarding visitation rights to the grandparents is balanced with the best interests of the child and the parents’ rights to make decisions for their children.

Usually, grandparents can’t seek visitation if the grandchild’s parents are still married, but there are exceptions. For instance, if your child and their husband or wife are separated, then you may be able to seek visitation with your grandchild or grandchildren.

There are also exceptions in cases where:

  • One parent’s location is not known
  • The child doesn’t live with either parent
  • The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent
  • One parent joins the grandparent in petitioning for visitation

If your situation falls into one of these exceptions, then your attorney may be able to help you obtain visitation rights. Our site has more on grandparents’ visitation rights and what you need to know about seeking visitation with your grandchildren if their parents decide to get a divorce or live separately.