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Grandparents rights for visitation, adoption vary

In light of the upswing in the opioid addiction crisis and other factors that could impact the ability of some parents to raise their children, there has been an increase in the number of children who are living with or receiving care from grandparents. In California and elsewhere, many grandparents are seeking either regular visitation rights or the formal adoption of their grandchildren. However, there are many factors that can affect whether a judge will grant such requests.

Many states have recognized the value of preserving a grandparent and grandchild relationship. It is generally thought that contact between grandparents and grandchildren should be permitted so long as it is in the best interest of the child or children involved. However, certain conditions must be met before a court will authorize visitation rights or approve an adoption petition. In some states, the marital status of the parents will be taken into consideration, while in a few states, one or both of the parents must be deceased before visitation will be granted.

If a child has been adopted by a stepparent or by an individual not related to the family, any formal rights for the grandparents may be effectively ended. In other circumstances, a court will review the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild to assess whether it would be beneficial to the minor to continue such a relationship, regardless of whether there has been an adoption. Other states have made provisions for grandparents to adopt a child in the event a parent has died and it can be shown that the other parent is incapable of providing a proper home for the child.

In the event that a grandparent seeks visitation rights or wants to adopt a grandchild, there may be several obstacles to overcome, especially when a parent or stepparent is opposed to the request since many courts take the point of view that a parent is the best provider for his or her children. California has its own laws regarding these concerns. Grandparents who want to pursue an adoption petition or seek visitation right with their grandchildren are best served by retaining an experienced and compassionate family law attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody", Accessed on Jan. 3, 2018

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Victoria S. Linder Law Office
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Phone: 916-905-4805
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