Grandparents often play an essential role in the raising of children. For this reason, California courts have established certain laws protecting the legal rights of grandparents. If you are having trouble visiting your grandchildren because of conflict with a son or daughter in-law, you need to consult with an experienced family law attorney. Depending on the specifics of your case, your rights may have been violated and a skilled lawyer may be able to help gain visitation of your grandkids.
CA grandparent visitation legal rights
Under Family Code section 3100, family courts have the discretion to give grandparents visitation rights. Typically, grandparent visitation rights are sought when at least one parent has died. Regardless whether a parent is deceased or not, the court may still award reasonable grandparent visitation, if there is a pre-existing relationship between child and grandparent, if the child prefers it, and if it is in the child’s best interests.
Asking for visitation
To request grandparent visitation in California, follow these steps:
- Find out if there is a family court case open — First, you need to determine if there is already a family court case open with your grandchildren and their parents. If there is, you can file under that open case. Otherwise, you will have to start a new case.
- Fill out necessary forms — Talk to a lawyer about what forms you need to fill out. Make sure all documentation is completed accurately and to the best of your knowledge.
- Have forms reviewed — Ask your court’s family law facilitator or self-help desk to review your paperwork.
- Make copies of forms — You should make at least 3 copies of each form before you submit them.
- File your forms with clerk — Next, you will submit your forms to the family law court. Remember, there is a filing fee.
- Receive your court date — The clerk will give you a court date. Depending on your case, you may have to meet with the parents and a mediator beforehand.
- Serve your papers — After you file for grandparent visitation rights, your papers will need to be served to the parents to let them know that you requested visitation.
You can increase your chances of being granted visitation by being prepared. Consult with a lawyer, gather the necessary paperwork, and proceed with confidence.
How grandparents can gain full custody
As a grandparent, you have the right to petition for full custody of your grandchildren if you can prove that the child’s health, safety, and well-being are in danger because of the neglect or abuse of the parent(s). This means that you will have to show the court that the parents are unfit as a result of child abuse or neglect, substance abuse, abandonment, or mental illness. You may also seek custody under the following circumstances:
- The parents are deceased.
- The parents agree to grandparent custody.
- The child has lived with you (grandparent) for a year or more.
Grandparents play a pivotal role in the development of our youth. If you need help resolving a visitation or custody matter, seek competent legal counsel.
Contact experienced family law attorneys in California
At The Giuliano Law Firm, we passionately advocate for grandparents’ rights across the state. To discuss your case with a skilled attorney, call (831) 257-8692 or contact us online.