Visitation Rights of Grandparents

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Can Grandparents Get Visitation Rights?

Grandparents may have some rights concerning visitation of their grandchildren. However, they are not as strong or extensive as the rights of parents. The laws in this area vary widely by state, so you should check the laws in your state for more detailed information before proceeding with legal action.

What Rights Do Grandparents Generally Have?

In most states, grandparents have a limited legal right to visit their children whether or not the parents’ marriage has been dissolved, or one or both parents have died. About 20 states, however, have more restrictive visitation laws, and will create a legal right of visitation for grandparents only in the event of divorce by the parents, or the death of one or both parents.

How Can Grandparents Guarantee Visitation?

In most states, grandparents only need to convince a court that visitation rights would be in the best interests of the child to get a court order for visitation. In other states, Grandparents facing resistance to visitation from the parents of the child will have to show that some type of harm will result to the child if they are denied visitation, which is sometimes difficult to prove.

What Can I Do If the Court Does Not Allow Visitation?

If you are not able to get court ordered visitation rights, your best option is to talk to the parents of your grandchildren to work out any disagreements or misunderstandings. You may also consider family counseling if having another individual present would be helpful.  

Additionally, you might consider finding a mediator to work out visitation issues.  This can be a good option whether or not you are able to get a court order since going to court can put more stress on your family and relationships.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer?

If you are concerned about your visitation rights to see your grandchildren, you should speak to a lawyer experienced in family law. A lawyer can help you navigate the laws in your state and recommend any alternative options. 

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Last Modified: 04-02-2014 02:19 PM PDT

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