In 2000, a case known as Troxel v. Granville, a woman named Tommie Granville limited visitations to her child’s grandparents to once per month and some holidays. Because of this, the grandparents petitioned for visitation rights. Under the statute that formed because of it, the court made it so that any person is able to petition for visitation rights. However, the judge is the one who makes the determination of what is in the best interest of the child, overruling a fit parent’s decision if they believe that they should limit these rights.
As of right now, each state has incorporated guidelines for granting visitation rights to grandparents and it is at the discretion of the court to make that decision in many cases. The reason why grandparent visitation rights are granted is because grandparents want to maintain relationships with their grandchildren at all costs, just as the parents are able to do.
The Complexity of Grandparent Rights
The holidays are a time to be with family. Imagine having Christmas or Thanksgiving parties at your house and some of the most important people in your life were unable to be there year after year. Unfortunately, this is how it is for some families. Do grandparents have a legal right to have holiday visitation to see their grandchildren during the holidays? This is not a simple answer as it stands. This is due to the fact that there is really no presumed right to custody for grandparents and each state handles these cases differently.
There are actually two guidelines that come into play when granting grandparent visitation rights, known as restricting and permissive.
Restrictive: These rights only allow grandparents to seek visitation when the child’s parents are divorced or when one party (or both) is deceased.
Permissive: In these cases, a third party is able to seek visitation even if both parents are still alive and married to one another.
In California, rights are presumed to be mostly permissive. This means that a grandparent can intervene and get time with their grandchild when they see fit, and the court can make a major decision on what is the best interest of the child.
What happens if you haven’t been able to see your grandchild for Christmas many years now and you believe this year the same thing will happen again? The idea is to act as quickly as possible to get your order in place if you believe you will be able to obtain visitation rights. However, this does not mean that the case should be stressful for all parties involved. For instance, one options includes mediation, where you may be able to reach a resolution regarding your rights and possibly even mend the relationship with your child if there is a strain on it. If this does not happen and you believe that the process is not wielding the best results, you will probably have to file in court and convince the judge. The judge will be able to calculate emotional and physical health and welfare of the child, the length and strength of the relationship between grandparent and child, and the wishes of the child if he or she is able to make that decision.
Educating yourself on rights and statutes is the best way to obtain more time with your grandchildren. If you have a desire to see your grandchild on holidays, you may obtain a visitation schedule through the court. However, you will need good legal representation on your side throughout the process. Call The Law Offices of Amy M. Montes to find out where to start.