Are you worried about losing contact with a grandchild because of a divorce or legal separation? Contact Ontario, CA family law attorney Torrence L. Howell. Under California law, a grandparent can ask the court for visitation rights with a grandchild. Torrence L. Howell is here to provide you with the legal guidance you need to show the court that visitation is in the best interests of your grandchild.
California law gives the courts the discretion to grant reasonable visitation rights to any person having an interest in the welfare of the child. This includes grandparents. In making their decision to grant reasonable custody to a grandparent, the court must first establish that the relationship between grandparent and grandchild is such that granting visitation is in the best interests of the child. They must also balance the best interests of the child, in relation to visiting their grandparents, that respect the rights of parents to make decisions for their children.
Can Grandparents Ask For Visitation While the Parents are Still Married?
Can you ask for visitation rights while both the grandchild’s parents are still married? Generally not. However, there are exceptions, such as when:
- Both parents are permanently separated and living separately;
- The whereabouts of the parents are unknown (and have been for at least a month);
- The child does not live with either of their parents;
- One or both parents are incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized;
- The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent; or
- One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation.
The Process for Requesting Grandparent Visitation Rights
In order for a grandparent to ask for visitation, they must first file a petition with the court. A grandparent can ask for visitation under an existing case or start a new case. They must complete and submit the necessary forms and paperwork. (It would be a good idea to have your lawyer review the paperwork to make sure it’s been filled out correctly and completely.)
Once you’ve submitted your forms and paid the filing fee, you’ll be assigned a court date. You must serve papers to both parents at least 16 court days before your court date. If possible, try to reach an agreement with the child’s parents about a visitation plan. If you are unable to come to an agreement, the judge will make a decision.
Get Help From an Ontario, CA Family Law Attorney
The rules and statutes pertaining to child custody and visitation in California are complex and can be difficult to understand if you aren’t familiar with the law. Ontario, CA family law attorney Torrence L. Howell has been protecting the rights and interests of his clients involved in visitation and other legal issues for over 20 years. He can guide you through even the most complicated of divorce or family law cases.
If you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights with a grandchild, contact the law office of Torrence L. Howell through our website, or call us at (909) 920-0908 to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case and legal options with a leading Ontario, CA family law attorney.