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Can grandparents obtain visitation rights?

The short answer is, yes, it is possible, but it's hard ? especially if the parent is opposed to visitation. Most of family law focuses on the relationship between the parents and children, however, a growing area of law covers the method by which grandparents may obtain visitation rights. The easiest solution is if the parents consent or encourage the relationship. But if the parents are hostile, then the grandparents may bring an action to compel visitation with their grandchildren.

The courts consider the following factors (this is an illustrative, not exhaustive list):

  • Is there a history of abuse or neglect by the grandparent, either to the parent or the grandchildren?
  • The nature of the relationship between the child and grandparent.
  • The nature of the relationship between the parent and the grandparent.
  • Will a visitation schedule unfairly interfere with the child's time with the parents?
  • The frequency of contact between the grandparent and child.
  • The effect visitation may have on the parent and child.

Always remember that the court can review any fact that is in furtherance of determining what is in the best interests of the child, very few things are off-limits from the court.

If you believe that you need to file a child custody action to establish visitation rights to see your grandchildren, then you may want to speak with a lawyer. As stated above, you must prove that the relationship is in the best interests of the child. An attorney can help you gather the evidence, testimony and craft legal arguments to support your position. Remember, it is always from the perspective of how this will affect the child. An attorney can improve your chances of obtaining a favorable visitation schedule.

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