Legal battles over Grandparent’s Rights are usually very difficult and complicated. Generally speaking, such battles will fall into three categories: a grandparent seeking visitation with the child, a grandparent seeking the legal right to make decisions about the Child’s life, including education and medical care, or, in extreme circumstances, a grandparent seeking custody of their grandchild. The last issue is quite complicated, more information can be found here.
Whether or not the parents of the child are married is of great significance in these battles. If they are, then it’s very rare for a judge to grant the grandparents any sort of legal rights. There are, however, some exceptions:
- The parents are living separately
- A parent’s whereabouts are unknown and have been for a month or more
- One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation
- The child does not live with either of his or her parents
- The child has been adopted by a stepparent
- The parents are not equipped to raise the child due to criminal influences, addiction, abusive tendencies, et cetera.
While these can open the door, most of the time these cases occur when the parents of the children are divorced or one is deceased, and the remaining/custodial parent is refusing to let the grandparent see the child.
Even if the parents are not married, the court will still put the wishes of the parents above those of the grandparents. For a grandparent to get visitation of the child, they will have to prove to the court that they have a strong, pre-existing relationship with the child (excepting cases where the parents are not equipped to raise the child, due to the reasons previously stated). That said, the court, as in any custody/visitation case, will always put one thing ahead of all others: the best interests of the child. If the grandparent(s) can prove that it is in the child’s best interest to have visitation with or custody transferred to the grandparents, then the court will grant it.
Doing so is incredibly difficult in these cases. However, with a strong lawyer at your back, you have a much better chance of getting the results you are seeking.
Here at the Law Offices of Glenn R. Wilson (FamilyLawFresno.com) we are experienced and aggressive in both pursuing and defending guardianship cases for our clients. Just check our online reviews, such as Yelp and Google.
By Connor Douglas Johnson