Family Law Specialists

Steve Fernandez and Mark Karney are both Certified Family Law Specialists* with over 50 years of combined experience.

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Los Angeles Grandparent Rights Attorney

Grandparents are often a huge part of a child’s life. They can play many roles, including babysitter, friend, and support system. Children often look forward to spending time with their grandparents and creating memories that they will have forever. When parents decide to get divorced, grandparents may be at risk of losing contact with their grandchildren. Fortunately, California offers protections for grandparents who want to ensure that they can maintain contact with their grandkids in the future.

When Do Grandparents Have the Right to See Their Grandchildren?

In California, grandparents are not without the right to see and visit their grandchildren. These rights generally exist when the parents of a grandchild separate or divorce. However, grandparents may have the ability to assert their legal right to visitation if:

  • The child’s parents cannot be located;
  • Parents do not have physical custody of their child;
  • One or both of the child’s parents are in prison;
  • The grandchild is adopted by a step-parent;
  • Parents are deemed to be unfit to have custody of the child; or
  • A parent joins the grandparent in filing a petition for visitation.

How Can Grandparents Assert Their Rights?

Grandparents in California have the right to petition a court for reasonable visitation with their grandchild. When the court receives this petition they will make a determination that is in the best interests of the grandchild. There are two primary factors that will help the Los Angeles family court judge determine if a grandparent’s petition for visitation should be granted.

First, the judge will look for a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild. Courts will be more inclined to approve a grandparent’s request for visitation when there is evidence that there is a genuine bond between the grandparent and grandchild. In making this determination, a judge may ask for witness statement and testimony, review photographs and video footage, and even speak with the child directly.

Second, a judge will balance the pros and cons of approving the grandparent’s request and overriding the parent’s ability to make decisions about their own child. A grandparent generally doesn’t file a legal request to see their grandchildren if the parents are agreeable. A court may be hesitant to override a parent’s decision unless they are presented with significant evidence to support the grandparent’s case.

A grandparent’s petition may be more successful if it is joined by one of the child’s parents. For example, let’s say that Jane and Bob get a divorce. In the divorce, each parent is awarded joint physical custody of their six-year-old daughter, Ann. Jane’s mother has established a genuine and deep connection with Ann, and wants to continue to see her grandchild regularly. Bob indicates that he has no interest in keeping his daughter in contact with her grandmother. Ann’s grandmother can file a petition with the court, joined by her daughter Jane, to request visitation rights. The fact that Jane supports the petition will help to support her mother’s petition.

Grandparents May Want to Consider Mediation

Mediation is a great dispute resolution tool that is less costly and less time-consuming than going to court. Mediation also provides a safe space for grandparents and a child’s parents to talk through their issues and find a mutually-agreeable compromise. Using mediation can help to foster positive emotions and keep children from witnessing a nasty legal dispute. If you are interested in asserting your rights as a grandparent but want to avoid the time and cost of court, call the Certified Family Law Specialists at Fernandez & Karney. We can review your case, explain the process of mediation, and answer the questions you may have.

Los Angeles Family Law Attorneys

Have the parents of your grandchild recently separated or divorced? Do you think that your grandchild’s parent is unfit to have custody? Are you afraid that a new step-parent may try to limit the time you have to spend with your grandchild? Call Fernandez & Karney to learn about your legal rights as a grandparent. When you are a grandparent you have the legal right to see and visit your grandchild. You can assert this right by filing a formal petition with the court or pursuing an amicable resolution using mediation. Regardless of which option you would like to pursue, our experienced attorneys can help.

Our Certified Family Law Specialists have more than 50 years of combined legal experience. We know how special the bond between a child and grandparent can be, and we will fight to protect your relationship. When you hire our Los Angeles family law attorneys, we will craft a custom legal argument that is designed to secure visitation rights with your grandchild. We will anticipate the arguments made by resistant parents be prepared to defend against any claims they make. Call our Los Angeles office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you protect the relationship you have with your grandchild.