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Does a grandparent seeking visitation threaten child custody?

It is a sad situation when grandparents are denied the opportunity to share their love with their grandchildren. While many grandparents are fighting legal battles to obtain child custody of neglected or abused grandchildren, some only want to be allowed to visit with their grandchildren. Grandparents in California who are yearning to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren may request the court to allow visitation rights, but a prior knowledge of requirements under state laws may be valuable.

Among other requirements, there has to be an existing bond or relationship between grandchildren and grandparents that will allow visitation to be in the grandchildren's best interests. If the parents of the grandchildren are still married, only certain conditions may sway a court to award visitation rights. These include separated parents or parents whose whereabouts have been unknown for a month or more. A positive result may also be obtained if a grandchild was the subject of stepparent adoption, or lives with neither of his or her parents.

If one of the parents supports the grandparent's visitation petition, it may benefit the claim. However, circumstances may change, and if such changes render none of the above conditions true any longer, one or both a grandchild's parents may ask the court to revoke visitation rights. If such a request is filed, the court may suspend any visitation rights it had previously ordered.

Many California family law attorneys may recommend an experienced mediator to assist grandparents and parents in communicating about visitation rights. Agreements reached with the aid of mediators may result in parents recognizing the need for grandparents to maintain a loving relationship with their grandchildren. Communication may also avoid parents feeling threatened when they understand that grandparents are not disputing child custody, but merely seek visitation rights.

Source:, "Visitation Rights of Grandparents", Accessed on March 6, 2015

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
5303 Folsom Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95819

Phone: 916-905-4805
Fax: 916-498-0127
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