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When it comes to the legal rights of grandparents, New Jersey takes a liberal approach. In many circumstances, it is possible for a grandparent to seek visitation or even custody of their minor grandchild. Our compassionate family attorneys could help a grandparent enforce their rights.
Disputes over grandparent custody or visitation can be contentious. If you are concerned about your grandchildren or believe the lack of a relationship with you could be detrimental to them, speak with one of our Maplewood grandparents’ rights lawyers.
One of the ways a Maplewood attorney could help a grandparent enforce their rights is by pursuing an award of visitation from the court. Many grandparents play a crucial role in a child’s development, and the courts in New Jersey recognize the importance of this relationship. For that reason, visitation could be a possibility if the court determines it is in a child’s best interest.
There are many factors New Jersey courts consider if determining if visitation with the grandparents is in the best interest of the child. The judge considers factors like the relationship between grandparent and child, as well as how frequent visits have been in the past. A judge must also review any history of domestic violence and how granting visitation might impact the child’s parents or guardians.
There are times when a grandparent might seek more than just visitation with their child. Under certain circumstances, it could be possible to secure custody of their grandchildren. A Maplewood attorney could assist a grandparent in their efforts to become a child’s legal guardian.
In these cases, it is not enough for a grandparent to make the case that a change in custody is in the child’s best interest. There is also an additional issue regarding the fitness of the parents.
By default, judges prefer that a child remains in the custody of the parents. This being the case, evidence proving that the parents are unfit is required for a court to grant custody to a grandparent. Usually, these determinations follow allegations of neglect or abuse.
There are certain circumstances when the court does not side with a grandparent during a custody or visitation dispute. This is most common if the court determines that the biological parents are fit to care for the child. In cases involving fit parents, the courts will often presume they are acting in the child’s best interests.
Often, the question of whether the lack of a relationship with a grandparent is harmful to the child is subjective. It can be challenging for a grandparent to make the case to the court that the emotional hardships the child could face without them in their life outweigh the rights of the parents. A dedicated attorney in Maplewood could help build a case that grandparent visitation or custody is in the best interest of the child.
If you believe your grandchildren could suffer without a strong relationship with you, it may be time to seek out legal counsel. An attorney could assist you with pursuing visitation, or even custody in some cases. Do not take your chances with the courts on your own. Call our Maplewood grandparents’ rights lawyers today to learn more.