When we discuss the effects of a divorce on a family, parents, and children are usually the focus of attention. We tend to forget that the termination of marriage frequently affects the relationship that grandparents have with their grandchildren.
Sometimes, the interference with the grandparent-grandchild relationship is unintentional and is caused by children relocating to another city with the parent who is granted custody. At other times, however, one of the parents might intentionally interfere with a grandparent’s visitation in order to get back at a former spouse. Depending upon the circumstances, Santa Ana grandparents might have rights they can enforce in court.
As grandparents, we have to accept the fact that California laws support the rights of parents to determine what is in the best interests of their children. The courts will usually not interfere when a married couple decides to limit or end visitation with grandparents. Grandparents might be able to ask the courts to intervene in any of the following situations:
- The parents have separated
- A parent has disappeared for a month or longer
- One parent favors visitation by the grandparents
- The children do not reside with their parents
Factors judges consider in granting rights to grandparents
Just because we might have the right to file a petition asking a judge to enforce our rights as grandparents to visit with our grandchildren does not mean that the court will do so. Judges must see that a relationship already existed with the children before they can grant visitation.
For example, if the parents file for divorce in 2016, grandparents who have voluntarily chosen to limit their contact with their grandchildren may have difficulty obtaining a court order granting them visitation. A judge might not believe that the grandparents’ petition filed in February shows a sufficient bond between them and the children.
The best interests of the children override everything else
A grandparent’s rights are secondary to the best interests of the children. For those of us experiencing problems maintaining our relationship with our grandchildren following a divorce, the advice of an attorney might be helpful in understanding what we can and cannot do to enforce our rights.
If you have questions regarding your rights as a grandparent, call William M. Strachan at (714) 841-1931 or visit his website to schedule a consultation.