A Divorce Lawyer in Mendocino County Discusses the Rights of Grandparents in Divorcing Parents’ Custody Battles
During an extended divorce with conflicts over child custody, it can be easy to forget that divorces can affect more people than just the immediate family. All too often, people overlook the effect divorce can have on the child’s grandparents. Grandparents often have a very close bond with the grandchildren and shouldn’t be overlooked in the proceedings.
Fortunately, as a divorce lawyer in Mendocino County, I can assure you that grandparents do have some rights under California law. In this article, we wanted to briefly discuss what those rights are.
A Divorce Lawyer in Mendocino County Discusses Grandparents’ Visitation Rights During Custody Disputes
As with many things surrounding divorces, it’s usually best if agreements can be reached without the need of court orders. If a grandparent has concerns about their place in a child custody battle, the best first course of action is simply to reach out to both parents and try to reach an amicable agreement on visitation and other contact.
However, of course, divorces aren’t always that smooth and simple.
Under California law, grandparents can petition for grandchild visitation rights when the parents get divorced. This petition is not automatically granted, but rather hinges on a couple of different factors:
- Proof of bond
The grandparent(s) in question must be able to demonstrate that they have an existing bond with the grandchild and that, therefore, it would not be in the child’s best interests to cut that bond completely. Usually, this is fairly easy to demonstrate.
- The “balance” test
Simply put, the court will weigh whether the rights of the grandparent to visit their grandchild outweigh the right of parents to decide who is allowed contact with their child. This is particularly relevant in situations where both parents do not want a grandparent involved in the child’s life. In these cases, the courts will usually side with the parents.
That said, it is always possible for the grandparent to present evidence or make the argument that they should be part of the child’s life anyway. As is always the case in California custody\visitation cases, the ultimate decider is what is going to be best for the child.
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