Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?
Many children benefit immensely from spending quality time with their grandparents and other extended family members. Unfortunately, when parents separate or disagree on custody, these grandparents can lose contact with the child when the parents are not cooperative. If the grandparent had played a significant role in the child’s life, the child can suffer. To counteract this, New Jersey courts can grant grandparents rights to visitation with grandchildren in certain limited circumstances. Grandparents can obtain a legally enforceable visitation order from the court.
Grandparents do not have inherent visitation rights. They have to first ask the court to grant them these rights, and then, only after first making an attempt to resolve the dispute with the parents. Once the court grants visitation rights for the grandparent, the parents have to comply. The grandparent asking for visitation rights must prove that the visitation would be in the best interests of the child. Doing so can be difficult, especially when the parents disagree. But there are many circumstances where visitation with a grandparent is beneficial to a child. For example, if one parent loses custody and is no longer involved in the child’s life, the parent’s parent may also lose contact as well, through no fault of their own. In this scenario, the child may suffer from not spending time with the grandparent, especially if that child had formed a close and connected bond with him or her. The New Jersey courts recognize the importance of bonds between children and their family members and thus have the authority to issue a visitation order for grandparents and siblings.
You should keep in mind, however, that the nature of your relationship with your grandchild and the historic frequency with which you spent time with him or her are factors the judge will consider. Similarly, the judge will consider the reasons why the parents do not agree on the grandparent having visitation. Many factors will come into play, which is why these cases can be so complex. Most notably, it is not enough to simply prove “best interests” of the child. You must demonstrate that your bond with the grandchild is such that the child will suffer psychological harm by having that relationship severed. That usually requires active involvement and frequent contact, at a minimum.
Grandparents can also request custody in circumstances where the parents have lost their parental rights. Consult with an experienced New Jersey child custody attorney if you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights with your grandchild. The time a child spends with his or her extended family is very important. Not being able to see such family members can be detrimental to a child, but not always. Making an application to the court for visitation rights can be difficult, and you bear the burden of proof. An attorney can help you navigate the process and help you demonstrate to the court that you need to remain a part of your grandchild’s life.
Are you a grandparent concerned about visitation with your grandchild? Williams Law Group, LLC can assist you with your case and help you request visitation rights. Located in Union, New Jersey, Williams Law Group, LLC provides compassionate and dedicated legal services to Union, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Monmouth, and Middlesex counties, and the surrounding areas. Our knowledgeable attorneys handle divorce and family law, child custody, and child abuse/neglect cases. Call our office at (908) 810-1083, email us at [email protected], or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation and ultimately get connected with an experienced New Jersey divorce and child custody attorney.