Under California Family Code Section 3102, a child’s grandparents may be granted reasonable visitation with the child if one parent of a child is deceased and it would be in the best interest of that child. But the family law courts do take into account the surviving parent’s considerations, especially if the surviving parent objects to the grandparent visitation.
Recent Grandparent Visitation Case
In a recent case heard by the California Court of Appeal in the 4th District, the Court held that the grandparents may not have unsupervised visitation with their grandchildren where the surviving parent has concerns about the grandfather’s alleged sexual abuse. This case is known as Ian J. v. Peter M.
In this case, a married couple had two daughters. In 2005, the wife died. After her death, the husband found her diary, which included an entry that accused her father of raping her when she was a child and of other inappropriate behavior. After reading those entries, the husband told the grandparents that he would no longer allow his daughters to have contact with them. The grandparents (wife’s parents) went to court and requested visitation with their granddaughters. An evaluator was assigned to the case and spoke with the two girls, who complained about inappropriate behavior by their grandfather. However, the evaluator concluded that there was no substantial risk of sexual abuse by the grandfather’s visitation, to which the trial court granted unsupervised visitation to the grandparents over the husband’s objections.
The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s decision, stating grandparents seeking visitation are “required to show clear and convincing evidence that unsupervised visitation is in the child’s best interest, notwithstanding the parent’s objection.” In this case, the wife’s diary entries and the complaints by the two girls provided a legitimate basis of concern for the husband when his daughters were in the care of their grandparents, especially their grandfather. The Court of Appeal further stated that in light of the husband’s concerns, the grandparents could not overcome the presumption of favoring husband’s decision to prevent his daughters’ contact with their grandfather. Therefore the Court of Appeals still allowed the grandfather visitation under the condition that such visitation be supervised.
How Can Wallin & Klarich Help You With Grandparent Visitation
Obtaining grandparent visitation is a complex process that involves complex issues, especially when the surviving parent has objections to the visitation or if there have been allegations of a grandparent committing sexual abuse. In these types of cases, you need an grandparent visitation attorney from Wallin & Klarich who will firmly represent you. We have been practicing law for over 30 years and understand the close relationship grandparents have with their grandchildren. You can rely on us to help you get the visitation you deserve. Call us today at 1-888-749-7428. Wallin and Klarich has offices in San Diego, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange Counties and can help you now. We will be there when you call.