Southern California Family Law Blog

When it comes to visitation and custody, grandparents also have rights under California law. If you are a grandparent seeking to establish your rights regarding your grandchildren, consult with an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the legal process.

Why Seek Grandparent Rights? 

Grandparents play an important role in the lives of their grandchildren. Oftentimes, grandparents seek rights to visitation or custody when they believe it to be in the best interest of the child. There are a variety of reasons for grandparents to file for rights, including: 

  • The child is being neglected or abused 
  • The parents are suffering from physical or mental health problems 
  • The parents are dealing with substance abuse 
  • The parents are facing unemployment or otherwise unable to provide for their child 
  • The parents are incarcerated or otherwise unable to care for their child 

Legal Basis for Grandparent Rights

California Family Code Section 3100 provides that the court can grant reasonable visitation rights to any person having an interest in the welfare of a child, including grandparents. Typically, parents have the power to decide when their child sees their grandparents. However, in some cases, grandparents can petition the court to order visitation. This usually occurs if the child’s parents aren’t married, or if they are married but live apart. If the child’s parents are married, grandparents typically cannot file for visitation unless: 

  • The child does not live with either parent 
  • The child has been adopted by a stepparent 
  • A parent is incarcerated or institutionalized 
  • A parent’s whereabouts are unknown 
  • One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation 

In limited cases, a judge may order grandparent visitation. Under California Family Code Section 3104, the court must find that: 

  • There is an existing bond between the grandparents and child such that visitation is in the best interest of the child 
  • The child’s best interest to see the grandparents outweigh the parent’s rights to make decisions about their child 

How to File for Grandparent Rights 

If you are a grandparent who is considering filing a case, you must first find out if there is an open case between the parents of the child. If there is an open divorce or paternity case, you may need to file a joinder in order to join the existing case. If there is no open case between the parents, you will need to file a new case by creating a petition and request for an order of visitation rights. While some counties provide a local court form that can be used as a petition, others do not have an official petition form. As such, a good place to start is to obtain an experienced family law attorney who can advise you throughout the complex legal process. 

If you are still unsure whether filing a case is the right choice for you, you may want to consider meeting with a private mediator or counselor first. Starting a court case may cause unwanted tension between your family. On the other hand, mediation between you and the child’s parents may help you avoid court and build a better relationship. Mediation is a way to openly and safely discuss your needs and concerns and to try to reach an agreement that is in the child’s best interest. 

Contact Wallin & Klarich Today 

If you need an experienced family law attorney or mediator, contact Wallin & Klarich today to see how we can help. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients successfully attain visitation and custody rights to their children and grandchildren. We understand how tough these cases can be, but we will do everything in our power to keep you from being separated from your loved ones. 

With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available Wallin and Klarich office near you. 

Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.

Piqui’s Law (SB 616) Mandates California Courts to Prioritize Child Safety in Custody Disputes

Piqui’s Story 

In April 2017, Ana Estevez reported her son Piqui missing after his father failed to show up for a scheduled custody exchange. The parents had been fighting over custody as Ana sought to protect her son from her ex-husband. Officers notified Ana that Piqui’s father Ara Andressian was found unconscious in a park and had been taken to a local hospContinue Reading.......

Self-Defense in Domestic Violence Cases in California

Domestic violence cases can be tricky, often devolving into a he-said, she-said situation. Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize when physical actions are necessary in order to protect oneself and when such actions will only make the situation worse. In these cases, there is a thin line between self-defense and domestic violence.

The Difference Be

Continue Reading.......

Everything You Need to Know About Emancipation in California

Who Can Get Emancipated? 

Emancipation is the process by which teenagers under 18 are granted legal adulthood by the court. Once you are emancipated, you are no longer under the custody of your parents, meaning you can do certain things without your parents’ permission. These include: 
  • Living on your own 
  • Making healthcare decisions 
  • Applying for a work p
Continue Reading.......

Coercive Control Is Domestic Violence Under California Law

What Is Coercive Control? 

When we think of domestic violence, we often think of physical abuse. However, domestic abuse isn’t always physical. Coercive control is a form of domestic violence in which an abuser uses a pattern of abusive behavior to dominate their partner and limit their partner’s freedom. Although this can involve physical violence, it iContinue Reading.......