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Among the turmoil commonly associated with domestic disputes, grandchildren have the staunchest defenders. Grandma and grandpa often provide respite, protection, and resources to grandkids caught in the middle of a custody battle. However, even the rights of absentee parents could undermine your loving support.
Grandparents might feel helpless during custody battles, but a Montclair grandparents’ rights lawyer knows better. Our team of dedicated family law attorneys could help you fight for custody and visitation of your grandchildren in New Jersey.
While the state encourages parents to share physical and legal custody of their children, courts ultimately determine custody and visitation according to the child’s best interests. These decisions often include weighing evidence related to the child’s familial ties and emotional wellbeing.
Guardians ad litem may advocate for an order that deviates from the standard parental custody arrangement when grandparents provide the best environment for the child. Additionally, the court may consider a joint guardianship arrangement or a temporary placement with grandparents during a tumultuous period. These custodial arraignments typically arise in cases involving incarceration, abandonment, addiction, or abuse from one of the child’s parents.
Family courts typically grant legal and physical custodial rights solely to fit parents. However, New Jersey legislators recognize the vital role grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. State law explicitly permits grandparents to request a visitation order granting them legal access to their grandchildren.
Qualifying petitioners must submit evidence, which may include photos, videos, and witness’ statements, that court-ordered visitation is in the grandchild’s best interest. Only a child’s legally recognized grandparents may qualify for visitation under this law. Further, Superior Court judges and local attorneys must consider all of the following factors when weighing a grandmother’s visitation rights:
Courts must presume visitation is in the child’s best interest if the petitioning grandparent was the child’s full-time caretaker at some point. Proving caregiver status might require evidence of parental abandonment or incarceration and does not always necessitate proof of court-ordered guardianship. Compassionate legal counsel could help grandparents gather essential evidence to support their visitation petition.
The visitation rights afforded to grandparents in New Jersey do not generally override parents’ power to control access to their children. Instead, courts typically enter visitation orders when the parties have a strong, healthy relationship, the grandparent acted as the child’s caretaker, and the custodial parent(s) systematically denied the grandparent visitation to the child’s detriment.
Visitation may include house visits, supervised grandparent time, outings, or even authority to visit the grandchildren during school breaks and holidays. Parents and grandparents may benefit from discussing their rights and desires with an attorney in Montclair before submitting a petition.
Do not forgo your relationship with your grandchildren. They often need you as much as you need them. New Jersey respects the special bond between grandparents and their grandchildren, and you should not be afraid to assert your rights when necessary.
A Montclair grandparents’ rights lawyer could help you petition for visitation or custody of your grandkids. Contact our team to discuss your concerns today.