Grandparent Rights are Relevant in California Child Custody Cases

Grandparents are entitled to have quality time with their grandchildren, even if their son or daughter is getting a divorce.

Grandparent rights are not to intrude on the parents rights, as they still have authority over their kids’ lives. If a spouse is trying to prevent or ignores a request for grandparent to be involved, grandparents should seek legal counsel to understand and fight for their options. Oftentimes, a child custody attorney can push to include grandparent visitation rights in the overall child custody agreement.

Unfortunately, in some circumstances the birth parents are unfit to take care of their children, thus leaving grandparents to raise the kids. Parents who are incarcerated, have mental health problems, abuse drugs or alcohol, deceased, or have abused, neglected or abandoned a child will not be given the right to take care of their child. Throughout California, close to seven percent of all children are living with their grandparents.

Grandparents as caregivers are divided into two categories. Custodial grandparents have legal custody and provide daily care, security, and decision making for the kids. Usually the child’s birth parents are so unfit to take care of the children that this is the best way for the child to succeed. A court must grant guardianship to the grandparent.

This process starts with a petition the grandparent will file in court for Guardian Ad Litem. All individuals must receive notice of this petition, so that if one parent is willing to renew their care for the child, they have the opportunity to do so. The only way to go around this is if the guardian can prove that the parent is unfit and contests the guardianship. Grandparent guardianship can be terminated when a parent shows the court they are ready, willing and able to care for the child again and files appropriate motions to do so.

The second category of grandparents, known more as caregivers, helps with daily care but does not have legal custody of the grandkids even though they are living with them. The kid’s parent can live in the home, but the grandparent is in charge of giving an emotionally and financially stable home environment. These types of grandparents assist kids when the parents are out of town, deployed with the military, or absent for longer periods of time. Power of Attorney documents should be drafted and notarized so that the grandparent will be allowed to get the child medical care, make certain education and school decisions, and apply for California assistance programs.

In Orange County, Irvine child custody attorney Gerald Maggio has helped uphold the best interests of children and the rights of grandparents for visitation and guardianship. The Maggio Law Firm is experienced in all child custody matters and will strive to achieve fast and fair results through understanding, tenacity, and professionalism.

Gerald A. Maggio is an Orange County divorce attorney, in Irvine, California. To learn more about Orange Country divorce lawyer, Gerald A. Maggio, visit

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