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What Are The Rights Of Grandparents In California?

Rights Of Grandparents In California Children are sensitive creatures. They need as much support in case of a divorce or the death of their parents as possible. In such unfortunate circumstances, grandparents are generally the best source of help. However, in some cases, grandparents are unsure of their legal rights regarding the grandchildren if the parents get divorced, die, or are unfit for child-rearing.

According to the Family Code sections 3100 to 3105, grandparents have visitation and even custodial rights in California; however, they must fulfill specific requirements before being granted these rights. The process can be convoluted. That's why seeking a local Orange County family lawyer will help establish and uphold the lawful rights of grandparents.

Filing for Grandparent's Rights in California

In the absence of an open case, a grandparent or grandparents may file for a new petition from scratch in California. Usually, lawsuits for visitation rights are filed if the grandparents cannot reach an agreement with the child's parent or parents outside of court. However, if there is an existing case under family law in court between the child's parents, grandparents can file for visitation under one of these cases.

If the parents are still married, the grandparents may not be able to file for visitation or custody. However, there can be a few exceptions to this rule, such as;

  • The grandchild is adopted by a step-parent.
  • The grandchild does not live with any parent.
  • A parent joins the petition with grandparents for visitation rights.
  • The parents live separately.
  • One of the parents has been missing for a month or more.
The courts in California usually make a decision based on a balance between the primary authority of the parents to make decisions regarding their kids. However, they must also keep a child's best interests at heart. If the parents are unfit or incapable of making a rational decision, the court may supersede the grandparent's rights over the parent's.

Rights Of Grandparents In California Grandparents' legal rights in California

In some special circumstances, the court may decide it is in a child's best interests to be placed with its grandparents. Those exceptional circumstances are:

  • A parent is mentally ill.
  • A parent or parents abuse alcohol or use drugs in the child's home.
  • Both parents are declared unfit for child care.
  • One parent is declared unfit for child care, and the other parent cannot or will not take custody of the child.
  • Both parents mutually agree to give up the custody of a child to the grandparents.
If other family members also want the custody of a child, then the grandparents may not win guardianship. The court tends to consider many factors when making a custodial decision in such contentious cases. Above all, the court considers the needs of the child in question and which arrangements will be most beneficial for them.

Consider Contacting a Grandparents' Rights Lawyer in California
A professional family lawyer specializing in grandparents' rights can offer you meaningful advice and guidance in regards to visitation and custody. Everyone's circumstances are different, and whether or not your request in court will be granted or not depends on several factors. Only a specialized lawyer can tell you if you qualify for visitation or custodianship in California.

Image Credits:

Image 1: Photo by PS Imaging on StockSnap
Image 2: sylviebliss, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 28th February 2022.

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