Certified Family Law Specialist, State Bar of California, and Board of Legal Specialization

Many families recognize how important a grandparent can be in their grandchild’s life. Unfortunately, parents and grandparents do not always see eye-to-eye on the grandparent’s role, leading to conflict and possibly a legal dispute.

If you are a grandparent concerned about your right to court-ordered time with your grandkids, our Simi Valley grandparent’s rights lawyer could help. Our caring family law attorneys are well-versed in the law governing these matters and could work to preserve your relationship with the grandchildren you care about so deeply.

Rights of Simi Valley Grandparents to Visit Their Grandchildren

Generally, if one of the child’s parents has died or the parents are divorced, a grandparent can ask a judge for court-ordered time with their grandchild. To support their request, a grandparent must prove that they had an ongoing relationship with their grandchild that created a special bond between them. Additionally, the grandparent must demonstrate to the court that the grandchild’s best interests are served by maintaining the grandparent-grandchild relationship.

California law grants parents significant control over their children, including deciding who they spend time with. Accordingly, when determining grandparent visitation requests, a judge must weigh the child’s best interests against their parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit. An understanding lawyer well-versed in grandparents’ rights can further explain this balance and assess the likely outcome of a petition for visitation.

Circumstances a Grandparent Can Gain Visitation

California Family Code §3103 sets forth the legal presumption that if both parents agree the grandparent should not have visitation with their child, a judge should deny the request.  As such, courts generally do not assign grandparents visitation rights if their grandchild’s parents are still married and object to the visitation. However, a grandparent can petition for visitation if one of the following circumstances exists:

  • The parents are living separately on a permanent or at least indefinite basis
  • One parent has been missing for at least one month
  • One of the parents joins the grandparent’s visitation petition
  • The child does not reside with either of their parents
  • A stepparent has adopted the child
  • A parent is incarcerated or institutionalized

Regardless of the parents’ status or the child’s living situation, the grandparents always have the burden of proving that visitation is in their grandchild’s best interests. A grandparent facing any of these situations is well-advised to seek advice about their legal rights from a compassionate attorney in Simi Valley.

Can a Judge Order a Grandparent to Pay Child Support?

Unlike parents who must pay child support even if they do not have custody of their child, grandparents awarded visitation are not legally obligated to financially support their grandchildren. As such, a judge cannot require that a grandparent pay child support, regardless of the amount of time the grandparent spends with the children.

However, if a court does award visitation, they can require the grandparent to bear the costs of those visits. For example, if a parent incurs expenses to fly the child to the court-ordered visitation, a judge could order the grandparents to reimburse the parent for those costs.

A knowledgeable attorney in Simi Valley could explain a grandparent’s rights and obligations under the current laws.

Consult a Dedicated Grandparents’ Rights Attorney in Simi Valley Today

While parents always have the option to allow their children to have a relationship with their grandparents, they sometimes choose not to. If the parents make that choice, the grandparents face the emotional and challenging decision to honor the parents’ wishes or pursue the matter in court.

If you are a grandparent needing to establish visitation or raising your grandchildren because the parents are unable to care for them, reach out to a capable Simi Valley grandparents’ rights lawyer today. Our firm’s trusted lawyer could sit down with you and discuss how to preserve your relationship with your grandchildren and protect your legal rights.

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Hoffer Family Law Firm