West Caldwell Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer
Grandparents have unique relationships with their grandchildren. For many, this is one of the most fulfilling relationships of their lives. It can be especially devastating that grandparents have limited legal rights when divorce or estrangement interferes with their access to their grandchildren.
A West Caldwell grandparent’s rights lawyer understands how important this relationship could be to the grandparents and especially to the children. A committed attorney at Williams Law Group can apply their knowledge of New Jersey family law to persuade a court to grant grandparents visitation rights in a particular case.
How Grandparents Can Seek Visitation Rights
New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:2-7.1 offers grandparents the right to apply for visitation with their grandchildren. In reviewing an application, the law requires a court to consider the:
- Relationship the grandparent has with the child
- Grandparent’s relationship with the child’s parents, or custodial parent
- Time that has passed since the grandparent last saw the child
- Co-parenting or custody agreement between the child’s parents, if any
- Effect of grandparent visitation on the relationship between the child and their parents
- Grandparent’s motivation for filing the application
- Grandparent’s history of abuse, neglect, sexual misconduct, or other relevant behaviors
- Other factors that impact the child’s best interests
Even after considering these factors, a court will not order visitation with a grandchild over a parent’s objection without a compelling reason. The United States Supreme Court ruled that, if visitation with a grandparent is in a child’s best interests, a court cannot interfere with a parent’s right to raise their child as they see fit and force visitation over a parent’s objection. A grandparent must show that denying visitation would cause demonstrable harm to the child.
A West Caldwell family attorney can help a grandparent prepare their application. In proving that the absence of visitation causes harm to the child, the psychological connection that was established if the grandparent was ever the child’s full-time caregiver could be convincing evidence. If the grandparent never cared for the child full-time, they likely would need to present evidence of parental unfitness to overcome a parental objection to visitation. As an alternative, an expert opinion that the child will suffer specific harm from being deprived of contact with the grandparent could be necessary.
Psychological Parents Have Significant Rights
If a grandparent ever lived full-time with the family and had significant childcare responsibilities, the grandparent might assert that they were the child’s psychological parent. New Jersey law recognizes the concept that caregivers and children form deep emotional attachments and offers psychological parents rights to a continuing relationship with the child.
A court will consider numerous factors when determining whether a grandparent was a psychological parent, including the amount of time the grandparent and child resided in the same household, the extent of the grandparent’s childcare responsibilities, and whether the relationship between grandparent and child was parental in nature. If a court determines a grandparent was a psychological parent, they will consider a grandparent’s claim regarding child custody and visitation.
Although grandparents usually will not win custody over a parent unless the parent is unfit, a New Jersey court could award visitation to grandparents who function as psychological parents, even over a parent’s objections. A West Caldwell custody and visitation attorney can guide a grandparent through the process of proving that they are a child’s psychological parent.
Trust a West Caldwell Grandparents’ Rights Attorney with Your Case
Family disputes like divorce can disrupt the precious relationship between a grandparent and their grandchild. Although this situation is heartbreaking for the grandparent, it can be devastating for the child as well.
A West Caldwell grandparents’ rights lawyer can analyze the circumstances and develop a strategy to preserve the relationship between you and your grandchildren. Our compassionate team at Williams Law Group is committed to protecting your rights and finding the best possible resolution for your family situation. If you or someone you know is looking to secure grandparent visitation, contact the Williams Law Group today, to learn more about your rights.