What Are a Grandparent’s Rights to Visitation with His or Her Grandchild?

The relationship between a child and his or her grandparent is an important one. Grandparents provide support and care for children alongside their parents, developing unique inter-generational bonds. When a child’s parents divorce, the grandparents are often understandably worried about what will become of their relationships with their grandchildren.

If you are a grandparent, your right to visit and spend time with your grandchild is not guaranteed by law. In most cases, a child’s parents encourage their child’s relationship with his or her grandparents and foster visits and outings together. However, a parent may contest a grandparent’s right to spend time with his or her child on the basis of abuse, neglect, or toxic dynamics that would negatively impact the child. When this happens, the grandparent has the option to file a motion to the court to require that he or she receive visitation time with the child. The court then examines the case and any factors present that would make such visitation unhealthy or unsafe for the child. If the court determines that visitation is in the child’s best interest, it may compel visitation between the child and grandparent.

      1. Factors Considered when Determining Whether Visitation is in the Child’s Best Interest

  • Any history of abuse or neglect from the grandparent.

  • The child’s relationship with the grandparent. Is the grandparent a constant figure in the child’s life, or does he or she only see the child a few times a year? This is an important consideration.

  • The grandparent’s reason for seeking visitation with the child. Reasons found to be “in good faith” are more likely to garner a favorable outcome. An example of a good faith reason for seeing visitation is the grandparent’s desire to spend quality time with the grandchild, rather than seeking visitation to inflict revenge against one or both of the child’s parents.

  • The relationships between the grandparent and the child’s parents.

  • The child’s current custody arrangement.

  • How a visitation order with the grandparent would affect the child. This includes how it might affect his or her relationship with each parent.

The child’s relationship with the grandparent is the most important factor that the court considers when determining whether a visitation agreement is best for the child. As a grandparent, it is your responsibility to prove that not spending time with your grandchild would have a negative emotional or psychological effect on him or her when filing your motion with the court.

To learn more about your rights as a grandparent and how you may factor into a child’s custody arrangement, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at 732-370-9596 to schedule your initial legal consultation with our firm. We proudly advocate for families and children throughout Ocean, Burlington, Mercer, and Monmouth counties.

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