Grandparents often take a backseat in the divorce process, no matter how involved they were with their grandchildren prior to the divorce. In California, grandparents may have more rights in a divorce situation than in other states, but grandparents still have to go through a long legal process to exercise these rights if the parents of the children refuse to allow them visitation.
California Grandparents And Divorce
In California, grandparents are barred from filing for visitation rights when children’s parents are still married unless there is a specific, recognized legal reason for doing so. If the children’s parents are separated or their whereabouts are unknown, or if the child has been adopted by a stepparent, grandparents may have legal standing to file for visitation or even custody. If the children state that they do not want to live with either parent, the grandparents may also be a natural custody choice.
There are also cases in which a child dies, leaving behind grandchildren, or in which parents are unmarried. These cases may be more difficult for grandparents to win, but if it is clear that the remaining parent is unsuited to raise the children, the grandparents may be able to convince the court to give them custody.
Visitation Rights For Grandparents
Several California cases offer precedent for determining grandparents’ visitation rights. In California, these rights are established based on a pre-existing relationship that has “engendered a bond” between the grandparents and the child. However, courts are required to balance the rights of the grandparents with those of the parents and the children in many types of determination.
Can I Seek Custody Or Visitation With My Grandchildren?
If your child is going through a divorce and you are concerned about your custody or visitation rights with your grandchildren, you may want to seek legal help. The Men’s Legal Center represents men who are seeking custody or visitation with their children and may be able to help grandparents as well.
The most important thing to remember in any situation involving custody or visitation is that all parties should work for what is best for the children. If you are a grandparent caught up in a nasty divorce between your child and another party, you may wish to seek legal advice from the Men’s Legal Center to help protect your grandchildren.