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Grandparents are known for their loving, caring spirits and their tendency to spoil and encourage their grandchildren throughout their lives. However, when divorce, separation, or other harsh circumstances threaten their relationship with their grandchild, heartache is inevitable. That is why Schank & Associates are passionate about grandparent’s rights in Sacramento. We want to help you persuade the judge that keeping your bond with your grandchild and being granted visitation rights is in that child’s best interest. Thus, we are prepared to not only guide you through the paperwork for grandparent’s rights and the complicated court procedures, but also to step into the courtroom with you as your passionate advocate. Below we outline some general information on how to file for grandparent’s rights in California. However, please call us for a free consultation to obtain specific legal advice, since this information may not apply to your individual situation.
What Rights Do Grandparents Have in California?
Unfortunately, grandparents do not have any visitation rights in California unless they are specifically granted to them by the Sacramento courts. Thus, grandparents must petition for grandparent’s rights in order to be able to visit their grandchildren when one of or both the parents deny them visitation. This is why it is so important to have a skilled attorney who knows about the process of requesting grandparent’s rights in Sacramento to help you.
Can Grandparents “Sue” For Visitation Rights in California?
In other states, filing for grandparents rights is called “suing” for visitation rights. However, this is not the case in California. Rather, you petition for visitation rights in the court. Grandparents can only request visitation rights when the parents are not together anymore. Most often, grandparent’s rights become an issue during a divorce or legal separation. However, there are some cases in Sacramento county where grandparents can request rights outside of divorce or legal separation. For instance, if both parents are still married but one parent doesn’t want the grandmother and/or grandfather to see their child, then the grandparent(s) can still request rights if the other parent supports the petition. If the child has been adopted by a stepmother or stepfather, the grandparents can also request rights. When one parent is deceased or their whereabouts are unknown grandparents may also ask to maintain contact with their grandchildren. To see if you are able to apply for visitation rights for grandparents, contact one of our Sacramento lawyers. Whatever the circumstances may be, you must always prove that it is in the child’s best interest to have their grandparents visit them. This means you must provide a persuasive argument to the judge as to why they should grant you these rights.
Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Through Mediation
Although not always possible, grandparents do have the option of holding a mediated negotiation session with the child’s parents to request visitation rights. This can have many benefits in some circumstances. It can allow you to resolve your differences and work towards a solution that benefits the child. The court will often give the parents’ decision much more consideration, so having one or both of them agree to grant you visitation rights would be ideal for your legal protection. If you convince them to allow you to see your grandchild, you can then work out a visitation schedule together. As either your mediation attorney for grandparent’s rights or as your personal lawyer, we can help defend your rights, enable a respectful discussion where your voice will be heard, and give you the confidence you need to advocate for yourself. Know that we can only work as either an unbiased mediator for both you and the parents or as your personal attorney during mediation sessions hosted by an alternative mediator. We cannot work as both. Contact us to discuss your options regarding mediating grandparent’s rights cases.
Filing for Grandparent’s Visitation Rights in California Courts
We know that mediation does not always work, and sometimes you must go to court to request grandparent’s rights from a judge. The process of requesting grandparent’s rights can be daunting. However, we have successfully guided many concerned grandmothers and grandfathers through the steps countless times before. Thus, you needn’t fret over the details or legal jargon – we will always be there to answer your questions and clear up any confusion. Before you request grandparent’s visitation rights in court, you must already have a case open. You can pursue visitation as a tangential issue during the child’s parents’ divorce or separation, or if a restraining order has been put against one parent, or if a request for child support or custody has been issued from either parent. However, if there is no case open concerning the child and/or his or her parents, you must open a case for grandparents’ rights specifically. There is no form for this in California. Sacramento county handles grandparent’s rights different than other counties, so seeking legal advice local to Sacramento is imperative. Thus, call us for a free consultation to see whether you need to open a case and how to do so or to see if the case that is already open allows for a grandparent’s rights petition.
Forms for Grandparent’s Rights in Sacramento
Once you have determined whether or not you need to open a case for grandparent’s rights, you can move on to the actual petition for visitation rights. There is one main form for grandparent’s visitation rights in Sacramento, California that our attorneys will walk you through. The paperwork you need to provide for grandparent’s rights is incredibly important, as this will be the foundation on which the judge makes his decision. If you fill out any details incorrectly or your case is not compelling enough, you may miss your chance to advocate before the judge. Thus, we will help you pinpoint the exact details that showcase the value of your relationship with your grandchild. This could include anything from specific examples, research, the child’s own testimony, or more. Even the way in which you word this can sway the judge’s decision, so even if you do not wish your lawyer to help you write it, allow us to review it before you submit it. That way, even if the parents are against you, you can persuade the judge that it is in your grandchild’s best interest to allow the relationship between you two to flourish.
What if the Custodial Parent is Against the Petition for Grandparent’s Rights?
Sometimes the judge will grant only one parent full legal and/or physical custody of the child, and that parent may be against your petition for grandparent’s rights. However, if this is the case, do not lose hope. Even if they have full rights over the child, they cannot limit the visitation rights granted to you by the judge. This simply means you must fight even harder and make your case that much stronger. This is especially true if your son or daughter was deemed unfit and not granted custody of their child. Then it is all the more imperative that you recruit a vigilant and persuasive family law attorney for your grandparent’s rights case in Sacramento. We believe that every loving grandparent should be involved in their grandchildren’s lives, and we will fight for that belief every step of the way.