Each state handles grandparents' rights differently. In some states, grandparents don't have any rights, but that's not necessarily the case in California. Unlike some other states, California is more flexible when it comes to awarding visitation to grandparents.
Under California law, grandparents have the right to ask the court for reasonable visitation with their grandchildren. However, the court will want to know:
- Was there a pre-existing relationship between you and your grandchild, and is that bond currently in danger?
- Would it be in the best interests of the child to grant visitation?
Generally, grandparents cannot file for visitation with their grandchildren while the child's parents are married. But there are exceptions:
- The parents don't live together;
- One of the parent's whereabouts has been unknown for at least a month;
- A parent joins the grandparent's petition;
- The grandchild does not live with either parent; or
- The grandchild was adopted by a stepparent.
Note: If the court grants you visitation and circumstances change and none of the above exceptions apply any longer, one or both parents can ask the court to end your visitation and the court must end your visitation rights at that time.
If it's possible, you may want to consider mediation as a way to discuss your needs and concerns and try to reach an agreement so you can still see your grandchildren. If this prospect is unlikely and you know it, we recommend that you contact us to speak with a member of our legal team.
If you are raising your grandchild because their parents are unable to care for them because they are on drugs or in prison, you may want to consider guardianship.
Contact Claery & Green, LLP to speak with an experienced Los Angeles child custody lawyer!