Seeing your grandchildren go through the pain of their parent’s divorce can be unbearable. This is especially true if that divorce is also threatening to tear you away from your grandson or granddaughter. Many times, this can happen because your son- or daughter-in-law was granted custody and they will be moving away with the grandchild. Or, in more difficult cases, one or both of the parents do not wish you to see your grandchild after the divorce or separation. If you find yourself in these situations, we are here to help. One of our attorneys who specializes in grandparent’s rights can assist you in petitioning for visitation rights from Los Angeles County. Know that the information we provide below is not legal advice, since it might not apply to your individual situation. Thus, call our family law office in Los Angeles for a free consultation on your rights as a grandparent.
Sadly, unless they specifically request them from the court, grandparents do not have any right to see their grandchildren in California. Only parents have natural custody and visitation rights. Thus, grandparents must petition Los Angeles County courts in order to request the right to visit their grandchildren. The first step to doing this is hiring an attorney who knows the laws regarding grandparent’s rights in Los Angeles so that you have someone to walk you through the paperwork and hearing.
Generally speaking, you cannot petition for visitation rights as a grandparent unless both parents are divorced. Los Angeles County does outline a few exceptions to this, however. For instance, if the parents are legally separated or one of the parents has been missing for over a month, you can file for grandparent’s rights. You can also petition the courts if one parent backs your request, even if the other parent is against it. If the child does not live with either parent (e.g. is under the care of a legal guardian), has been adopted by a stepparent, or if one parent is in jail or otherwise removed from the child’s home, you can also submit a request for grandparent’s visitation rights. However, if the mother and father are still married and do not want you to see your grandchild and none of these exceptions apply, the courts will not accept your petition. If you are in any of the aforementioned scenarios, call us for your free consultation. We will work diligently to help you attain the legal right to see your grandson or granddaughter.
How to Request Visitation Rights from the Parents
In some cases, you can directly ask the parents to allow you to see your grandchild. We know you have probably already tried this, but you can attempt to do it in a more official way that will allow the parents to hear your side of the matter. For instance, we can work as your mediator and hold a session with you and the parents during or after their divorce. During this meeting, we will facilitate a respectful discussion in which you explain why you would like to see your grandson or granddaughter and why you feel it would help them in life. You can discuss a possible visitation schedule, resolve past conflicts, and let your voice be heard in the presence of one of our attorneys, who is skilled at conflict mitigation. Of course, this is not always an option for grandparents, and sometimes you must take your petition directly to the courts of Los Angeles County.
Filing for grandparents’ rights in California is not always clear-cut and can easily become a muddled mess. Thus, always consult with an attorney before going through this process, since your specific situation could call for different action steps. Before you submit the forms to request visitation rights, there must be a case open in Los Angeles family courts involving your grandchild. This could be the divorce or legal separation of the child’s parents, a request for child support from one parent, a domestic violence restraining order, or a similar case. If there is no longer a case open, you must open one specifically for grandparent’s rights. Since there is no specific form for this, we can walk you through the process personally, since we are experienced working with Los Angeles county courts and can help you open the case. Once that is done, we will help you draft the petition for grandparent’s visitation rights.
The forms for grandparent’s visitation rights are multifaceted and ask for detailed information regarding you and your grandchild’s circumstances. Making errors on these can cause you to lose your chance at visiting your grandson or granddaughter, so allow us to review them before you submit them to LA courts. We can analyze your situation and identify the most persuasive reasons why you should be granted rights. We will then present those to the judge and fight zealously to convince him or her to grant you rights. Showing the judge exactly why you deserve to see your grandchild can be difficult, especially if the child is still young or the parents are against you. Yet we have successfully seen grandparents through this process numerous times and know our way around Los Angeles County courts. We know that you wish to love and cherish your grandchildren, and will do everything in our power to make that happen.
In some circumstances, only one parent has sole physical and/or legal custody over their child and they may refuse to let you see your grandchild. If this is the case, do not lose hope. Even if one parent refuses to let you visit with your grandchild, you can still request rights from the city of Los Angeles. You and your attorney will need to craft a meticulous and persuasive case to convince the judge to your side. Although the state of California holds parental rights highly, we know that your love for your grandchildren goes beyond laws and regulations, and we will work endlessly to let it flourish.