Ask any grandparent, and they will tell you that having a grandchild is one of the most exciting and fulfilling stages of life. Playing with grandchildren, helping them grow, and providing them with love and support are all central grandparent roles. In the optimal situation, grandparents and parents get along and cooperate to provide the best possible care for the children. However, it is the sad reality that there are times when grandparents and parents cannot get along, and parents may cut off access between the grandchildren and the grandparents. It is important to understand the law surrounding grandparent’s rights in New Jersey whether you are a parent or a grandparent.
It is important to understand that the United States Supreme Court has determined that parents have the right to choose whether a grandparent has access to their grandchildren. The presumption is that parents act in the best interest of their children, and grandparents do not have the right to override a parent’s decision just because they may disagree. That said, it is not impossible for a grandparent to get an order allowing for visitation. It is possible for a grandparent to allege and prove the proper requirements to overcome that presumption.
The New Jersey courts have weighed in on this issue several times, and through reading central cases, such as R.K. v. D.L., 434 N.J.. Super. 113 (App. Div. 2014) it is possible to gain an understanding of what a grandparent must prove to get court-ordered visitation. A grandparent must prove that the child will be harmed if the court fails to grant access between the grandchild and grandparent. To do this, grandparents need to document and prove that their relationship with their grandchild is extremely strong. In these cases, it may be helpful to hire an expert witness such as a child psychologist to testify that the grandparent has such a strong relationship with the child that cutting off all contact will irreparably damage the child. Being able to show that the grandparent had frequent and lengthy contact with the child in the recent past will also help bolster a grandparent’s case. After a grandparent overcomes the first hurdle and shows that the child will be harmed, the grandparent must also show that the proposal made for visitation is in the child’s best interest.
If you have questions about bringing or defending a grandparent visitation request, let us help you. We have extensive experience in helping our clients with all types of family law cases.
Are you interested in seeking an annulment? If so, contact Williams Law Group, LLC right away. Our family law attorneys will review your case to determine if an annulment is an option. If it is, we will guide you through the process and ensure you make the best decisions for your future. Call our office at (908) 738-8512, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us through our confidential online form to schedule a consultation
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