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Does California family law allow visitation for grandparents?

In California, when there is a divorce and visitation rights are determined as part of family law, it is often centered around the parents. However, there are other people who want to have visitation with a child even if the relationship that bore the child is no longer intact. Grandparents fall into this category. For grandparents who want visitation, it is important that they and the parents understand how the law handles this relatively common circumstance.

The law allows for grandparents to seek reasonable visitation with their grandchild. There are certain factors that must be in place for the court to grant this visitation. The child and the grandparent must have a pre-existing relationship. With that relationship, a bond must have been formed. It must be in the child's best interests to have visitation with the grandparent. In addition, the best interest of the child will be assessed in the context of the parents' rights as to who gets to see and spend time with their child.

Grandparents who are seeking visitation rights with a child cannot do so if the parents remain married. There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Included are: if the parents are married but separated; the parent is missing with unknown whereabouts for a minimum of one month; a parent has joined the petition for the grandparent to have visitation; or a stepparent has adopted the child and a grandparent is requesting the right to see the child.

Many families can address these issues without intervention of the court. There are, of course, cases where the situation is complex and it is wise to have the court's help to make certain that everyone is treated fairly and within the law. For grandparents and parents who are facing this issue, the child's best interests are paramount, but can sometimes become lost in the middle of a dispute. A law firm that helps people with their family law concerns can be contacted for help with grandparent visitation.

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O'Brien Family Law, PC 

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