Grandparent Visitation in California


Grandparents play an important role in many families throughout California. Some of them even act as parental figures in some households. 

However, if a grandchild’s parents file for divorce or legal separation, grandparents may wonder if they can still visit their grandchildren. Although some divorcing parents may allow grandparent visitation without a court order, others may prohibit grandparents from seeing their grandkids. 

Fortunately, grandparents have visitation rights in California. The court must find that there was a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, and the bond between the two parties is in the grandchild's best interests. In addition, the court needs to balance the child’s best interests in obtaining grandparent visitation with the rights of the parents to make decisions on behalf of their child. 

Remember, if both parents (or one parent with sole custody) agree to deny grandparent visitation, a judge presumes grandparent visitation shouldn’t be allowed. Therefore, the grandparent must prove to the court that visitation is in the best interests of the grandchild. 

The court will consider the following factors when determining if grandparent visitation is in the child’s best interests: 

  • The safety, health, and well-being of the grandchild 

  • If there is any history of domestic violence or alcohol/drug dependency between all parties involved 

  • The nature and frequency of contact between the grandparent and grandchild 

  • The grandchild’s opinion, if he/she is at least 14 years old 

If the court grants grandparent visitation rights, the judge may also order a parent or grandparent to pay transportation costs, daycare costs, and other forms of child support for limited purposes. 

Although grandparent visitation may continue if the grandchild is adopted by a stepparent, if the child is adopted by someone else other than a stepparent or even a grandparent, then any current visitation order automatically ends. 

If you are interested in obtaining grandparent visitation in Irvine or Orange County, contact The Neshanian Law Firm, Inc today at (949) 577-7935 for a free 15-minute phone consultation. Our legal team has more than two decades of combined family law experience. 

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