Grandparents' Visitation Rights Attorney
Many grandparents spend a good portion of their lives going through the difficulties and joys of raising their children. Once grandchildren are born, grandparents can really enjoy simply being a grandparent, and let the parents deal with the struggles and disciplinary issues that go along with parenting. Having a good relationship with their children often makes it easier for grandparents to see their grandchildren. However, dissension and strife with children can often lead to blocking the grandparents from seeing their grandchildren. In addition, not being on good terms with both parents of the grandchildren due to divorce, separation or other issues could lead to complete alienation of the grandchildren from the grandparents. Although grandparents face limited visitation issues, they do have visitation rights. Hiring a grandparents' rights attorney can provide solid representation to grandparents dealing with restricted access. Proper jurisdiction to file a grandparents' rights case occurs in the courthouse nearest to where the grandchildren reside. Thus, grandparents living in Texas would need to file at the Riverside, California courthouse if the children live in Riverside.
Family Code Section 3102 allows grandparents to have reasonable visitation rights with grandchildren if either parent is deceased. The court will analyze the personal contact between the person and the child before the application for the visitation order. This section will not apply when the child has been adopted by a person other than a stepparent or grandparent of the child.
Family Code Section 3103 provides legal authority for allowing grandparents to file for visitation during custody proceedings.
Family Code Section 3104 states, “On petition to the court by a grandparent of a minor child, the court may grand reasonable visitation rights to the grandparent if the court does both of the following: 1) Finds that there is a preexisting relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild that has engendered a bond such that visitation is in the best interest of the child (and) 2) Balances the interest of the child in having visitation with the grandparent against the rights of the parents to exercise their parental authority.”
In general, grandparents are unable to file for visitation while the parents of the grandchildren are married. However, there are exceptions to this rule of law, such as when the parents are living separately; A parent's whereabouts are unknown for at least one month; One of the parents joins the grandparent's petition for visitation; The child does not live with either of his or her parents; or the grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent. Once one of these exceptions no longer applies, one or both of the parents may ask the court to end the grandparent's visitation and the court must end it at that time.
Grandparents should explore pursuing a California guardianship if grandparents' visitation is not the right option for their particular circumstances. Guardianships may be appropriate if the parents are unable to care for the grandchildren. Grandparents may even be co-guardians, and guardianships allow for custody and not visitation.
At the Law Offices of Joseph Torri, our Southern California grandparents' rights attorneys have significant child custody and visitation experience in all aspects of family law. We practice in the following counties: Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego.
Please call our office to schedule your initial confidential consultation.