If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.
— Mark Twain
While not every state provides visitation rights for grandparents, California is a state that does. In order for a grandparent to request visitation with a grandchild, one of the following situations must apply:
Either one or both parents of the grandchild is deceased
The parents of the grandchild are involved in a proceeding for divorce, annulment, legal separation, or child custody
The parents of the grandchild were never married
If the parents of the grandchild are currently married, a grandparent cannot file for visitation unless any one of the following applies:
• The parents are living separately on a permanent basis
• Either parent has been absent for more than one month and the other parent does not know the whereabouts of the absent spouse
• One of the parents joins in the petition with the grandparent
• The grandchild is not residing with either parent
• The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent
In order to obtain visitation, the grandparent(s) must first prove to the Court that there is a pre-existing bond between the grandparent(s) and the grandchild. If a pre-existing bond is proven, then the Court must weigh the interest of the child in having visitation with the grandparent(s) against the right of the parent(s) to exercise their parental authority over visitation. Under California law, it is presumed that parents act in the best interest of their child. Therefore, if a grandparent wants visitation with his/her grandchild against the wishes of the parent(s), the grandparent must provide sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that the parent(s) are acting in the best interest of their child.
Our attorneys at Merus Law have years of experience handling grandparents’ rights issues. Whether you are a grandparent requesting visitation, or a parent opposing a request for visitation, we will assess the strengths and weaknesses of your case to develop the best legal strategy for your desired outcome.