As a grandparent of a child, you may have many questions about the rights you have to see your grandchild, especially when divorce occurs. Did you know that as a grandparent you still have rights to visitation with your grandchild, even if their family situation has changed? California law is fairly open to requests related to grandparent visitation. The California Family Code outlines all of the rights and regulations related to this topic.
When parents are divorced or one parent is considered a "single parent" in the eyes of the court, grandparents can file for reasonable visitation. In order to acquire reasonable visitation, two requirements must be met. Firstly, the family law courts must find a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild that has, essentially, created a bond. The bond between grandparent and grandchild must be so significant that it illustrates that visitation is in best interest of the grandchild. Secondly, the court will weigh the child's best interests with regard to his or her grandparent against the parents' rights to make decisions for their child.
It is important to note that grandparents are not allowed to file for visitation rights if the child's parents are married. However, exceptions to this rule exist, including if the parents are living separately, the child doesn't live with his or her parents, or if one parent has not been present for a significant period of time. Grandparents seeking visitation are sometimes unwelcome by one or both parents, so it is important that visitation with the child is in his or her best interest. This is the main goal of the visitation, to enrich the life of the child.
While grandparents do have meaningful visitation rights in California, this isn't true in all states. The state of California sees the value in your relationship with your grandchild. Each family situation is different and will be viewed as such based on numerous factors in family court. Consider that this quest for visitation can be very rewarding despite the arduously long process.
Source: California Courts, "Visitation Rights of Grandparents," Accessed Jan. 26, 2015