There are two basic rights with respect to grandparents and their grandchild(ren): custody and visitation.
Custody is the legal rights and obligations with taking on full-time parenting and rearing of the child(ren).
In contrast, visitation is a specific schedule, set out by the court, for grandchild(ren) to spend time with their grandparents.
Occasionally, parents may deny the grandparents the right to visitation. To receive rights to visitation, the grandparents must first demonstrate there was a meaningful relationship with the child(ren).
If the court finds it acceptable, then grandparents will then have to demonstrate that such visitations against the wishes of the spouse(s) are in the overall best interests of the child(ren) in question. The Court is often hesitant towards the latter demand since the child(ren) may be overcome with emotional anxiety.
Grandparents should present testimony of “expert witnesses”, where by a psychiatrist or psychologist will conduct evaluations with regard to the best interests of the child(ren).
Read more: Grandparents’ Role in a Divorce Proceeding
Some examples of Grandparents filling for visitation include:
- Child(ren) born out of wedlock – grandparents may be granted visitation rights only after the actual paternity of the child(ren) has been established.
- Grandparents of a deceased parent: when one or both of the parents have died, grandparents may wish to file for visitation to maintain a continuing relationship with the child(ren)
- Child adopted by a third party – grandparents will lose all rights with respect to children.
- Non-custodial parent not exercising right to grandparents of visitation of grandchild(ren)