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California family law has provisions for grandparent visitation

Families take many forms in today's society, and as a result, parents and grandparents may not be as close as in years past. As a result, some California grandparents may wonder if they have any options when it comes to spending time with their grandchildren. There are provisions in the family law statutes for these relatives to seek visitation rights.

There are certain conditions that must be met before a grandparent attempts to seek these rights through the court system. As a general rule, if the grandchild's parents are still in a stable marriage, then the courts will likely not consider such a petition. However, if the parents are not together or one or the other cannot be located, then a grandparent may have grounds to seek visitation. The court will also need evidence that a healthy relationship is already established between the grandparent and child.

Additionally, if the grandchild has been adopted by a step-parent or does not live with either biological parent, then a grandparent has better standing for requesting such rights. It is up to the court to determine what decisions are in the best interest of the child involved, along with ensuring that parents remain in a position to make decisions for their children. If a parent signs onto a petition requesting visitation, then the court may be more likely to consider the matter.

There are certain procedures that must be followed when a grandparent is seeking visitation rights, and these are separate from the process of requesting formal guardianship if a grandparent is caring for a grandchild full time. If there is already an open case under the California family law court system, then a grandparent may be able to attach a petition for visitation to this case; if not, then the process will need to be initiated. A seasoned attorney can provide important information regarding how to file a proper visitation petition.

Source: courts.ca.gov, "Visitation Rights of Grandparents", Accessed on June 16, 2017

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