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Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

Whether it is due to a divorce or other factors, sometimes a grandparent can find themself cut off from their grandchild. This is a heartbreaking situation, but you may have legal options if this is happening to you. The state of New Jersey does give grandparents some rights here, and the Morris County, NJ child custody attorneys from our firm may be able to help you secure visitation rights.

How Can Grandparents Ask For Visitation Rights?

If a grandparent wants visitation rights, they have to file a petition with the court. They have to describe their relationship with their grandchild and the efforts they have taken to establish or maintain said relationship. Then all living parents of the child will be notified and the legal process can move forward.

What Does a Court Consider When Grandparents Ask for Visitation?

When a grandparent asks for visitation rights, the court will look at the relationship they have had with the child and do its best to determine whether or not visitation and the maintenance of this relationship is in the grandchild’s best interest. The court can consider factors like:

  • The grandparents’ involvement in the child’s life
  • If the child lived with the grandparents for a long period of time, like over six months
  • Whether the grandparents provided financial support for the grandchild
  • If visits between grandparents and the grandchild were regular and common
  • The physical and mental fitness of the grandparents

All of these factors are weighed to determine how important this relationship is and whether the court needs to step in. The grandparents need to show that visits are in the best interest of the child, but that is not their only task. The burden of proof is also on them to show that their grandchild would be harmed by the lack of a relationship with their grandparents.

How Can a Family Lawyer Help?

Making these arguments on your own can be difficult, but an experienced family lawyer can help you petition for visitation rights and build the best possible case. Your attorney can make it easier for you to gather evidence that shows your financial support for the child. They can even help you secure the assistance of expert psychological witnesses who can talk about your grandchild’s mental state and how the lack of a relationship with their grandparents could harm them.

Can Grandparents Get Custody of Their Grandchildren?

If you want to go beyond petitioning for visitation rights and ask for custody, there are ways to do that. You would have to prove that the child’s legal parents are unfit and that you would be able to provide your grandchild with a safe and supportive living environment.

Call Our Law Firm Today

If you have any questions about grandparents’ rights in New Jersey, contact Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, L.L.C. We can schedule a consultation and tell you more about how we can help you build a convincing case for visitation rights.