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Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights in California?

Are you a grandparent who is curious to know if, under California law, you can seek visitation of your grandchild? If so, it’s a valid thing to want to know. After all, each state’s laws regarding grandparents’ visitation rights are different. Can a grandparent be awarded visitation by a family court in California? Yes, it is possible, but not guaranteed; the grandparent has to meet certain requirements first.

What are your chances of having a court grant you visitation? It depends on whether you had a pre-existing relationship with your grandchild, if that bond is being endangered, and if it would be in your grandchild’s best interests to grant you visitation. A decision to let you see your grandchild also has to be weighed against the parents’ rights to decide for their child.

Why the Court Would Say No

Are the child’s parents married to each other, and do they both not want you to see your grandchildren? This is something the courts will want to know. If your grandchild’s parents are married and they made a decision together that they don’t want you to see your grandchild, this presents problems. Typically, a grandparent cannot ask for visitation if the grandchild’s parents are married, however, there are exceptions including:

  • The parents are not in a relationship and they don’t live together
  • One of the parents abandoned their child and can’t be found
  • One of the parents is joining the grandparent on their petition for visitation
  • The grandchild does not live with his or her parents, but someone else
  • A stepparent adopted the grandchild

If you’re a grandparent and you’re reading this, clearly, you care a lot about your grandchild and having a relationship with him or her. Your grandchild is very fortunate to have someone like you who loves them so much to consider asking the court for visitation.

Whether you had a strong bond and that’s being blocked for some reason or you’re concerned about your grandchild’s safety and well-being, we invite you to contact our firm to explore your options. We’d be more than happy to help you with this situation.


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