Grandparents visitation rights ideally should be decided without the court’s involvement. Grandparents usually love their grandkids more than their kids in a very special way. But the situations are different and the people are different. We live not in a perfect world and when court involvement is necessary grandparents need to deal with the court system asserting their visitation right in a proper substantive and procedural manner.
We have discussed a very basic Grandparents visitation rights California law in the page grandparents rights
The purpose of this article is to cover some more frequently asked questions regarding Grandparent visitation rights not covered in the above-mentioned article and provide a more practical approach.
When Grandparents visitation rights in California can be asserted?
Generally, grandparent cannot assert their Grandparents visitation rights in California if the parents are still married with some exceptions we have discussed in the previous article.
The grandparents can assert their right in like a divorce, a paternity case, domestic violence restraining order, divorce, a child support case, or a domestic violence restraining order) and a grandparent may be able to ask for visitation under one of those existing cases.
For example, one case scenario is when the father and mother are living together without getting married, raising their children in one of the father’s or mother’s house. Grandparents are getting involved in their grandchildren’s life – taking care of the daily routine. Assuming the father and mother are breaking their relationship and one of the parents moving out taking kids from the other parent and grandparents.
How Grandparents visitation rights in California can be asserted?
First of all, in order for the grandparents to assert their visitation rights in the case, they need to find out if the case involving children/parents is already open. In the situation described above, one of the parents usually starts a paternity case to determine child custody and usually child support.
The grandparents need to join the action asserting Grandparent visitation rights in California. A special motion for joinder should be filed. In addition, the request for the order must be filed together with the grandparent’s declaration explaining why they are in a good position to argue Grandparent visitation rights in California. As a reminder from our previous article if grandparents can show to the court that their grandchildren and they had a preexisting relationship and grandkids have “ engendered a bond”. The visitation should be is in the best interest of the kids balanced the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child. If the kids are mature enough, usually 14 years old, the judge might consider their opinions regarding the visitation.
What happened if there is no case opened in relationships with kids/ parents? There is still a possibility for a grandparent to initiate the case starting everything from the beginning, filing a petition, but it is more challenging and complex procedurally. There is no judicial counsel standard petition form for this purpose. Sacramento county for example provided local form Petition for Grandparent Visitation, local form FL/E-LP-606
Orange County, California, Riverside County, California, Los Angeles County and other sought part of California counties have some templets and local forms helping grandparents to open the case.
The grandparents must also prepare Summons, Declaration Under Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), and some other documents initiating a new case. There is a filing fee of $435 for the petition to open a case.
After filing the case, all parties must be properly served and proof of service shall be filed with the court.