California grandparents may petition the court for visitation rights to their grandchildren in some situations. Though these rights are not as common in family law cases as parental visitation rights, they have been recognized in every state for several decades. Grandparents may also pursue child custody in some cases, usually after both parents have died.
Grandparents may choose to pursue visitation rights if they have been denied visitation by their grandchild’s parents or if their grandchild has been adopted. The goal of a grandparent visitation order is to preserve a healthy relationship between a child and their grandparent, so the court will evaluate that relationship before making a decision. Grandparents who are seeking visitation rights must show the court that such visitation is in the best interest of the child and a denial of it would harm the child.
If both of a child’s parents are deceased, the child’s grandparents may be awarded child custody if the child has a strong relationship with their grandparents. In cases where a child has at least one living parent, it is rare for a grandparent to be awarded child custody. However, grandparents may petition the court for child custody if they can prove that their grandchild’s parents are unfit.
Grandparents who are not being allowed to visit their grandchild may want to speak to a family law attorney about their options. They may need to file a motion with the court that has jurisdiction over child custody matters in order to obtain a resolution.