When it comes to California family law cases on child custody, most of the talk is centered on the rights of the children and the parents. The court focuses on what’s best for the children. Yet, there is another aspect of law that has been developing recently, which is about the visitation rights of grandparents. The California Family Code addresses the rights of the parents of the child’s parents. In this blog, we will give you a lowdown on the visitation rights of grandparents. Grandparents tend to be very important in the upbringing and welfare activities of the child especially if both the parents are career-oriented and working.
The Procedure and Law of their Rights of Visitation
Grandparents have the right to meet their grandchildren and can avail that right by petitioning the family law court to grant them visitation. The following are a list of instances when they can make such as petition:
- The parents haven’t officially divorced and are currently married but live separately from each other. It is important to note that in such a case, the separation mustn’t be temporary or for a set time period only.
- If there is a California or Orange County family law case currently in the court regarding the child’s custody, as long as the case is in its pre- judgment phase, petitioning is valid.
- When the parents aren’t married to each other anymore as a result of the ending of their marriage via a court or paternity cases.
- If the parent of the child isn’t alive anymore.
When the status between the parents is ‘not married’, the case tends to bit a little tricky, and in such cases, the courts will apply the balancing test to help make sense of the situation. This balance of test means that the court will look at the extent and strength of the relation between the child and the parent and then balances that with the relation the child has with his/her parents. If this balance shows to the court that there exists a need for the visitation right, it’s the family court’s discretion to order the visitation or not.
Parents’ Opposition to the Visitation
All lawyers generally know that nothing can be guaranteed, hence nothing should be assumed. While the above are cases where the grandparents can ask the court to grant them visitation rights. What happens in a situation where the parents oppose the visitation request? If both parents oppose the visitation request of the grandparents, the court of law will generally rule in favor of the parents. The primary assumption by the courts will be that visitation rights to grandparents will be against the benefit of the child and also because courts don’t want to supersede or undermine the rights of the parents.
Gerald A. Maggio is an experienced Orange County divorce and family law lawyer and family law attorney located in Irvine, California, serving the Orange County and Riverside areas. Mr. Maggio assists clients with legal issues including divorce, legal separation, divorce mediation, child custody, prenuptial agreements, stepparent adoptions, and other family law issues. Mr. Maggio has practiced law in California since 1999, and founded The Maggio Law Firm in 2005, focusing exclusively on divorce and family law matters.