Grandparents' Rights

Orange County Grandparents' Rights Attorney

Experienced OC Family Law Attorneys

Because of increasing divorce rates and other factors, there have been many changes to the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. Despite these changes to traditional family structures, many grandparents cherish these relationships and seek to maintain them. Each state addresses issues of non-parental custody and visitation rights on their own terms, so the law differs from one state to the next.

Petition a California Court for Visitation Rights

California law allows a grandparent to petition a court for visitation with a grandchild. In this action, as well as most other family law actions taken by courts, the child's best interests are prioritized in deciding visitation rights. The court takes other factors into account as well when deciding.

A judge addresses two primary concerns when deciding a grandparent's petition, and they include:

  • Balance the interests of the child in grandparent visitation with the rights of parents.
  • Finding a preexisting relationship that "engendered a bond."

Usually, if a child's parents are married, grandparents may not file for visitation rights. This may depend on state laws and the living situation of the parents and children. In California, there are some circumstances that allow grandparents to file even if the parents are married.

The exceptions to grandparents filing for visitation while parents are married include:

  • A parent joins the petition.
  • Parent whereabouts are unknown (for at least one month).
  • The child does not live with either parent.
  • The child has been adopted by a stepparent.
  • The parents live separately.

The process of filing for visitation rights and obtaining them involves filling out court forms and other court procedures. You may even have to find out if a family court case involving your grandchild is already open before proceeding. Retaining legal guidance from an experienced family law legal team may help you toward a positive visitation solution.

Obtain Guardianship for Your Grandchild

In some situations, visitation rights are not enough to meet the needs of a grandchild. If parents are absent or unable to care for the child, grandparents may petition for guardianship in California. Guardianship allows non-parents to have custody of a child and even manage the child's property. When parents are unable to guide a child and safeguard their future opportunities, grandparents may use guardianship to assume parental responsibilities. Our Orange County divorce lawyer has more than 30 years of experience. You want effective legal representation when you are working to protect the best interests of your grandchild.

Contact The Law Offices of W. Douglas McKeague today and schedule a free case evaluation!

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