As the grandparent of a child in the state, your options for seeking legal visitation rights in opposition to the child’s parents’ wishes are fairly limited. However, if you can demonstrate that your being denied visitation rights does not serve that child’s best interests, you may be able to compel a court to grant you the rights you desire.
A Ventura County grandparents’ rights lawyer could explain what may be possible in your situation and identify what choices you might have for changing the legal relationship you have with your grandchildren. Whether you want to formally adopt your grandchild(ren) or simply seek visitation, retaining a skilled family attorney could be crucial to effectively pursuing an optimal outcome.
If both of a child’s parents who are alive, married, and present in the child’s life want to deny visitation rights to their child’s grandparents, there is generally very little those grandparents can do to make a court override the desires of the child’s parents. However, certain circumstances may change the court’s opinion on this matter. Some situations include the child’s parents remaining married but living separately, adoption of the child by a stepparent, the child not living with either married parent on a regular basis, or one parent supporting a grandparent’s petition for visitation even though the other parent does not.
Regardless, for a California court to grant reasonable visitation rights to a child’s grandparent(s), the petitioning grandparent(s) must successfully argue that doing so would be in the child’s best interests. As per California Family Code §3104, this requires proving two things: first, that the grandparent(s) and grandchild in question “engendered a bond” through a pre-existing relationship, and second, that granting visitation rights to a child’s grandparent(s) would better serve that child’s best interests than allowing their parents to exercise parental authority would. Assistance from a Ventura County family law attorney could be crucial to demonstrating that both of these criteria apply to a particular case.
Even if a grandparent or pair of grandparents has a valid case to seek reasonable visitation rights with a grandchild, the actual process for doing so can vary significantly depending on where they are located. There are no standardized forms or procedures established at the state level for this specific kind of petition, and the matter of grandparent visitation rights is often folded into an existing case over a divorce, parentage dispute, or domestic violence restraining order, rather than existing as a discrete case all its own.
However, if a grandparent wishes to seek visitation rights with their grandchild independent from any existing case, they generally should start by filling out Form FL-300, Request for Order, with information regarding why granting visitation rights to a grandparent would be in the child’s best interests and what specific visitation schedule the petitioner wants, and then filing it—potentially along with other forms like Form FL-311, Child Custody and Visitation (Parenting Time) Application Attachment—with the court clerk of the Superior Court of Ventura County. Once again, guidance from a qualified lawyer can be essential to effectively pursuing grandparents’ visitation rights in Ventura County.
While California courts assume a child being with their parents is in that child’s best interests, they do not make the same assumption about relationships with grandparents. If you want to see your grandchild even though their parents do not want you to, you may have a long and complex legal battle ahead of you.
Fortunately, assistance is available from a qualified Ventura County grandparents’ rights lawyer who has successfully handled similar cases before. Call today to learn more.