Petitioning for Visitation Rights in California: Important Information for Grandparents
If you’re anything like most grandparents, you probably want to spend time with your grandchildren as they grow up. Unfortunately, sometimes parents of a child might keep the child’s grandparents from seeing them.
This isn’t always fair and appropriate. If you’re a grandparent in California who wishes to see a grandchild that you believe is being unfairly kept from you, be aware you may have legal options.
Understanding Grandparent Visitation Rights in California
When a child’s parents are married and live together, under California law, they typically have the right to make decisions regarding whether a child’s grandparents can visit them. If you’re being denied visitation with a grandchild whose parents are married and cohabitating, you may have limited legal recourse.
Instead, you’ll likely have to address this issue privately, contacting the child’s parents to explain why you believe you should see your grandchild. However, because these cases may be nuanced, if you have any doubt about whether your rights are being violated, you could review your case with an attorney for more information.
California law states that grandparents who have not been permitted to see their grandchildren can ask the court to step in if certain circumstances apply. This may be an option if your grandchild’s parents are not married. You could also ask a judge to enforce your rights as a grandparent if a grandchild’s parents are married, but are not living together and likely will continue living apart for the foreseeable future.
Petitioning for Visitation Rights: Understanding the Process for Grandparents in California
Are you a grandparent in California who’s considering petitioning the court for visitation rights? If so, the process typically involves these basic steps:
- Filing a “Request for Order” (Form FL-300) to explain that you are asking for visitation rights
- Serving the child’s parents with a copy of the petition and a court summons
- In some instances, participating in mediation before taking the matter to court, although this is not always a requirement
- Participating in a court hearing, during which a grandparent will need to provide evidence showing they have a relationship with their grandchild and it would be in their grandchild’s best interests to maintain that relationship
Be aware that navigating this process on your own can be a complex task. This is one of many reasons it’s smart to hire a grandparents’ rights attorney when petitioning the court for visitation rights. A lawyer can assist you with:
- Completing the necessary paperwork
- Coordinating with a process server to ensure a grandchild’s parents are properly served with the relevant paperwork
- Facilitating mediation, if necessary
- Gathering evidence (such as photos, videos, witness statements, etc.) to establish a pre-existing grandparent-grandchild relationship
A California family law attorney could also advise you about other potential legal options in these circumstances. For instance, if the parents of your grandchild are unable to care for them, you might wish to seek custody accordingly.
We at Baghdaserians Law Group understand these matters are very emotionally charged and complex. Our Pasadena grandparents’ rights attorneys are on hand to help you navigate them with confidence. We’ll fight for your rights and for what is truly best for your grandchild. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online or calling us at (626) 460-9525.