Perhaps your only daughter recently split from her husband of several years, and you’re worried that you may lose the opportunity to see your grandchildren regularly. Or maybe you want to help a grandchild whom you believe may be endangered, physically or emotionally.
In California, when parents die, grandparents may step in and obtain visitation rights, provided that the court finds this arrangement would be in the best interest of children. But grandparents can also obtain visitation rights in California in other circumstances.
Grandparents can petition for visitation in the following situation:
- The parents have split up;
- The parents have been living apart;
- One parent has been gone for at least a month;
- One parent joins the grandparents’ petition.
Here’s an example. Let’s say that your daughters’ ex-husband left town, leaving her with the sole custody of her three year-old. You can petition for visitation, only if your daughter joins you. There are other constrains on visitation, as defined in Family Code Section 3100. For instance, the court must decide that it’s in the child’s best interest for you to have visitation. In general, the grandparents and grandkids need to have an already established relationship. Plus, California law really respects parental authority. The grandparents’ authority is pretty limited.
California Family Code Section 3020-3424 itemizes other important factors regarding child custody and visitation, including the preference of the child, the child’s health and wellbeing, and the relationship between parents and grandparents.
For help understanding your rights as a grandparent, connect with the Dinnebier & Demmerle team to set up a confidential and thorough consultation with us.