According to California Family Code sections 3100 through 3105, a grandparent can ask the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild.
There is a twofold test grandparents must pass with the court to get reasonable visitation with a grandchild.
First, the Court must find that there was a pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild that has “engendered a bond.” This means that there is such a bond between grandparent and grandchild that visitation is in best interest of the grandchild. This requires two things: evidence that is admissible in Court to prove the bond, and quick action once your access to the grandchild has been cut off.
Second, after the Court finds that there is a bond between the grandchild and the grandparent(s), the Court must undertake to balance the best interest of the child in having visitation with a grandparent with the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child. Merely because a parent objects does not mean grandparent visitation will be denied.
While the grandchild’s parents are married, as a general rule, grandparents may not successfully file for visitation rights. But there are exceptions, like:
- The parents are living separately;
- A parent’s whereabouts have been unknown for at least a month;
- One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation;
- The child does not live with either of his or her parents; or
- The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.
Special circumstances exist to allow grandparent visitation if the grandchild’s parents have never been married.
For further information, contact your local self-help center, or give us a call. We at Hartley, Maxwell & Castellano have successfully obtained visitation for numerous grandparents with their grandbabies. Chances are we can help you, too.