December 30, 2013 By Paul Wallin

Do grandparents have visitation rights in California? Under California law, a grandparent can ask the court to grant reasonable visitation with a grandchild. To grant a grandparent reasonable visitation with a grandchild, the court must:

  • Find that there was a pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild that has “engendered a bond.” When the court finds that such a bond exists between grandparent and grandchild the court can find that visitation between the two is in the best interest of the child; and
  • Consider both the best interest of the child in having visitation with a grandparent and the rights of the parents to make decisions for their child.
Do grandparents have visitation rights
Do grandparents have visitation rights in California?

In general, grandparents cannot file for visitation rights while the grandchild’s parents are married; however, some general exceptions to this rule include the following:

  • The parents are living separately;
  • A parent’s whereabouts are unknown (and have been for at least a month);
  • One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation;
  • The child does not live with either of his or her parents; or
  • The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.

If a grandparent has visitation rights through the courts and none of the above exceptions apply, one or both parents may request that the court terminate the grandparent’s visitation. Upon the judge’s discretion, the court must then terminate the grandparent’s visitation rights at that time in consideration of the child’s best interest.

California Family Code sections 3100-3105 deal with grandparent rights to visitation. These code sections also explain other situations which the court must consider before granting visitation to a grandparent. It is imperative that you read these laws carefully and get legal advice from a lawyer if you think they may apply to your case. The lawyers at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years experience advising California parents and grandparents regarding grandparent visitation.

How Can I Avoid Going to Court in a Grandparent Visitation Dispute?

Keep in mind that, if possible, it may be best for you and your family to try to resolve these issues out of court. Consider mediation between you and your grandchildren’s parents as a way to openly and safely discuss your needs and concerns to try to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of your grandchildren which will preserve the relationships of all parties involved.

In many cases grandparents come to Wallin & Klarich and want very badly to visit with their grandchildren. However, there is some sort of family discord that is preventing that from happening. Often we are able to avoid an expensive court battle by meeting with the parent and grandparent and carving out a reasonable visitation schedule for the grandparents to see their grandchildren. A written agreement is reached that lays out the terms of the visitation. When this happens, our clients are very happy and so long as the terms of the visitation are followed, a court battle can be avoided.

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights? How to Ask for Visitation in Court?

Under the law, a grandparent who wants to request for the court to order visitation with a grandchild can either file their own petition in court or if a family law case has already been filed between the child’s parents (i.e. divorce, parentage, child support, domestic violence restraining order), a grandparent may be able to request visitation under these existing cases. If no prior case exists, then you as grandparent will have to file a petition for a new case.

With over 30 years of experience practicing family law, a committed family lawyer at Wallin and Klarich is your best resource when seeking visitation as a grandparent.

With offices located in Orange County, Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville and West Covina, there is a skilled and knowledgeable Wallin & Klarich family law attorney near you no matter where you are located.

Call us today at (888) 749-7428 to receive the best legal advice and court representation in your grandparent visitation case. We will get through this together.

1 comment

  1. My husband and I would like to have visitions with our grandchildren. Three of them are with their mother. She is divorce from our son. The other two are in Foster Care right now. They are my son and his girlfriend’s children. I helped to raise all of these children. We love them, they miss and love us

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