Understanding Your Rights as a Grandparent

Grandparents Rights

It can be heartbreaking when you are removed from the lives of your young grandchildren upon the wishes of a parent. This might be because one parent becomes involved with someone who wants to block contact. Or maybe there’s a long history of strife in your family which has resulted in this situation. Whatever the reason, the separation could be devastating to both parties — you and the grandkids.

Do you have grandparents rights? Can you get visitation — or even custody– in a case like yours? What recourse do you have? Let’s take a closer look.

Best interests of child

The answers could depend on where you live and the reasons for this forced separation. State laws vary, but the parents’ wishes regarding access are generally respected except when the loss of visitation would not be in the grandchild’s best interests.

For instance, if you raised the grandkids long-term or were a larger presence in their lives before the parents restricted your visits, your case might be strong.

Generally, the courts won’t be sympathetic if you already have visitation privileges but just want to have more time with the young ones. You’ll also face an uphill battle if contact would put undue burden on the parents, such as if you live far away. Or if relations with your adult children have been stressed for a long time.

Do you have a case for custody?

In the most extreme of cases, you might wish for more than just visitation. If you think your grandchildren need you to replace their parents as the primary caregiver, you might press for custody.

While the laws vary, you’ll generally have to prove that both parents are unfit. This might be due to drug use, child abuse, mental instability or other factors. But if only one parent is shown to be unfit and the other isn’t, you’ll have less of a case.

Your first step in navigating your grandparents rights must be to make an appointment with a family law lawyer. You can get answers to your questions and fully explore your options in this sensitive area.

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Family law involves legal matters concerning family relationships including but not limited to: divorce, adoption, child custody and more. Often times legal services are sought after from one or both parties to help come to terms or agreements for these matters.

It’s important to understand your rights and to have someone willing to fight for you and your family when it comes to these matters. Our Union County lawyer, Anna Blood, and her team understand what it takes to help you get the results you deserve.

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