If you are a grandparent in New Jersey and want to continue building that bond with your grandchildren after their parent’s divorce, you have specific legal rights to do so. A Short Hills grandparents’ rights lawyer could help you support your grandchildren’s best interests.
Issues around grandparent visitation or custody can get heated quickly. Emotions run high where children are concerned. An attorney with experience in grandparent rights can help you navigate these difficult circumstances to promote a healthy relationship with your grandchildren.
N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1 gives grandparents the right to apply for visitation and even request custody of their grandchildren in certain circumstances. The court’s central focus in all cases involving children is what would be in the best interests of the child. The standard for custody is high and based on an abstract concept of determining whether the child is in an unfit situation.
Grandparents have the right to adopt their grandchildren and parents can voluntarily give up their parental rights, or a court can terminate those rights upon a showing of unfit parenting. It is important to note that if another person adopts a child, the biological grandparents may no longer maintain the right to request visitation. Knowledgeable legal counsel could assist in gathering the proof necessary in cases of grandparent’s right and visitation or custody.
The law in New Jersey sets out specific elements that grandparents will have to address when requesting visitation. A Short Hills judge will want to understand the relationship between the child and the applicant. They will also analyze the relationship between the parents and grandparents and review how visitation might affect these relationships or impact the time-sharing arrangement the child has with their parents.
Grandparents must act in good faith when requesting visitation in Short Hills, and courts will want to know of any history of physical or emotional abuse or neglect. Since these cases can be high conflict, the help of a skilled child visitation advisor could be invaluable.
Keep in mind that in these cases courts are trying to balance the rights of parents to raise their children the way they want with the benefit of a relationship with grandparents. The health, safety, and overall welfare of children is always the preeminent concern.
For various reasons, grandparents may want to seek custody of their grandchildren. Although the overarching idea of the child’s best interest standard applies, grandparents must also prove the biological parents are unfit. Courts prefer that children remain in the custody of their parents, so showing that a parent is unfit requires substantial evidence of abuse or neglect.
Examples of circumstances where a parent would be unfit could include substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration, domestic violence, or physical or sexual abuse of the child. A Short Hills legal representative with experience in grandparents’ rights can advise about the type of evidence necessary to meet this high standard and help gather proof. Evidence could include documents such as medical records and police reports as well as testimonial evidence from witnesses and professionals.
It can be genuinely distressing when parents deny you access to your grandchildren. You deserve the opportunity to connect. Our team of experienced Short Hills grandparents’ rights lawyers are ready to step up and advocate for you.
If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of wondering about your grandchildren’s safety or physical and emotional welfare, you should consider talking to one of our experienced attorneys. For information about your rights as a grandparent, give us a call today.