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What Are a Grandparents' Rights? The Law Offices of Marc E. Mitzner is here to help!

Newport Beach Grandparents' Rights Attorney

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Although the family laws have changed in the last decade to reflect a new recognition of the importance of the father to a child, unfortunately, that is not quite as true for grandparents. More and more, however, grandparents are fighting for their rights and the courts are listening. With the nature of modern life, thousands of grandparents throughout Orange County are affected by divorces, separations, break-ups, and relocations, yearly.

When a couple's marriage ends or children move far away, it is often the grandparents who suffer. They may no longer be able to spend time with their grandchildren. This is especially the case if there has developed animosity between the mother and father of the children or, one of the parents wants to sever ties with the grandparents.

Grandparents or parents: Whose rights are maintained?

Visitation rights for grandparents were forever changed in June of 2000 when the Supreme Court issued a majority decision on the subject in the now infamous case of Troxel v. Granville. Dating back to 1993, the case centered around an ongoing question among many grandparents and parents: When death or divorce limit a parent's rights to visit their child, how will a grandparents' rights be consequently affected?

The groundbreaking case ruled in favor of the parents, strictly limiting the rights of grandparents in situations such as those described above. Therefore, if you are seeking visitation as a surviving grandparent then you will need strong legal counsel from a Newport Beach lawyer on your side to help you do so.

Generally, in order for a grandparent to be issued visitation rights of their grandchildren in the event of divorce, remarriage or death they grandparents will need to legally prove that their wish for visitation stems from what they believe to be in the bests interests of the child involved. Above and beyond this, grandparents will be expected to prove that their actions are not abusive – physically, emotionally, sexually or verbally – and that the time they spend with the children will be nothing but beneficial to the child.

A skilled Newport Beach lawyer is invaluable in this process.

Grandparents' Rights to Visitation & Custody

Grandparents are put at a general disadvantage when it comes to the rights given to them by U.S. law. There are not stipulations in federal law about how grandparents should be factored into issues of child custody and visitation. These rights are instead recognized at the state level and represent a fairly recent trend in legislation.

In some cases, fully custody will be permitted to the grandparents of one or more children whose parents are either unfit to suitably care for the needs of the child or whose parents are no longer around to care for the children. Court mandated visitation may also be granted in cases where the grandparents' rights to see their grandchildren stand to be adversely affected by a divorce or remarriage.

When determining how the rights of grandparents will be officially carried out, the courts will act in the same way as when decisions are made involving the child's legal parents; the courts will act in the best interests of the child in all cases.

This generally means that the following factors will be taken into consideration before an ultimate decision and legal ruling are made:

  • The safety of the child
  • The physical and emotional well-being of the child
  • The capability of the parents vs. the capability of the grandparents
  • The length of the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren
  • The wishes of the child
  • The wishes of the parents and grandparents
  • Evidence of abuse by the parents (or grandparents)
  • The ability of the grandparents to love and properly provide for the grandchildren involved

Contact The Law Offices of Marc E. Mitzner today for experienced representation in your case!