If your child is divorcing his or her spouse, and you are a grandparent, then you may be concerned about how this will affect your relationship with the grandkids. Grandparents can also be concerned about how their relationship will be affected if a parent passes away and the children are left with the non-relative parent. According to the California courts, grandparents of a deceased parent will still get visitation with a child as long as it is in the child's best interests to continue the relationship.
This means that if a child has never even met the grandparent, or if the grandparent is a bad influence on the child, then the grandparent's relationship with the child may be cut off. Yet if the relationship is healthy, and the child enjoys being with the grandparent, then the relationship cannot be cut off simply because of the tragic death of a loved one. California law also allows grandparents to have visitation when the parents are divorced or are living separately on a permanent and indefinite basis. Also, if one parent is absent for over a month, visitation commands can be put in place.
In these cases, one parent must join in petition with the grandparents in order to allow for visitation, or the child must not be residing with either parent and then the court can decide the visitation on its own. The court must also find that there was a preexisting relationship between the child and the grandparents that are petitioning for visitation and the court will need to balance the interest of the child in having visitation with the parents' rights to exercise their own parental authority and cut off that relationship.
If a child is old enough, the court will often evaluate the child's preference in the matter and the desire and ability of each parent to allow a relationship with the grandparents. Also, the court will determine how visitation will affect the child's health, safety and welfare. If you are a grandparent petitioning for your grandparent's rights to visitation, then contact a San Fernando family lawyer at Cutter & Lax to learn more!