Majority of grandparents want nothing more than to spend more time to care for their grandchildren. But when estrangement, divorce, or death happens, grandparents might find that they don’t have inherent visitation rights to their grandchildren. They need to petition for their rights in court.
On a good note though, under specific circumstances, grandparents could easily obtain visitation rights and a set schedule. However, visitation rights greatly vary from one state and another.
What Exactly is Grandparents Visitation Rights?
If you don’t have custody of your grandchildren, having visitation rights would enable you to visit your grandchild under his or her legal guardian’s supervision. Visitation is different from custody in that you won’t be granted control of your grandchild at any time. Generally speaking, being granted rights would significantly depend on the following circumstances:
- The child and the parent’s relationship;
- The parents and grandparent’s relationship; and/or
- The child and the grandparent’s relationship.
The court would review these specific relationships to try to figure out whether granting you visitation rights would be in your grandchild’s best interests, explains a top child custody attorney at the Law Office of Dorene A. Kuffer in Santa Fe. In general, the court’s primary goal is to give your grandchild an environment that would provide him or her stability. When deliberating on this crucial matter, the court would consider the following factors:
- The gender, age, mental, emotional, and physical state of your grandchild;
- Your grandchild’s preferences;
- Your grandchild’s ability to adapt between homes;
- Where your grandchild’s parent/s live, with regard to where you live, particularly if you live in a different state;
- Your grandchild’s level of attachment to his or her parent/s and to you; and
- Yours and the parent/s’ social and lifestyle habits.
Getting Legal Help to Obtain Visitation Rights
Understanding laws that govern grandparents visitation rights could be challenging, but it’s not something that you should figure out all by yourself. Consulting a local family attorney would help ensure that you understand your rights and options regarding visitation with your grandchild and help you with the petition process.