Do grandparents have visitation rights?

A divorce affects more people than just the couple ending the relationship. This is especially true when the situation involves children and custody issues. It is not uncommon for grandparents to end up impacted by the divorce. This may lead you to wonder if you have visitation rights to your grandchildren in California. 

The Judicial Branch of California explains that you do have grandparents’ rights. If you have a relationship with your grandchild and the visits with you would be good for the child, then you have the right to ask the court for visitation. Your relationship should be one where you and the child have a bond. There needs to be a compelling reason for the court to give you visitation rights that the parents do not give you, so having a strong relationship is essential. 

Keep in mind that you generally cannot request visitation outside of a divorce situation. However, there are exceptions. For example, if your child that was the parent died or if the parents are not living together, then those situations would allow you to seek your rights in court. 

The court does take granting grandparents visitation rights seriously. In such a situation, it commonly means the parents or the parent with legal custody does not wish to voluntarily allow you to see the child. Courts usually feel the parents know and do what is best for their child. However, the law does recognize that sometimes parents act in hurtful ways and that grandparents should be in a child’s life if possible. This information is for education and is not legal advice. 

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