Sometimes a grandparent may have a reason to request grandparent visitation rights. It is important to realize that a grandparent only has the ability to ask for visitation rights under certain circumstances. A grandparent may seek a specific visitation schedule if the following applies:
- When there is or has been a child custody case
- If the child’s parents have divorced, entered a legal separation, or had their marriage declared invalid
- The legal custody or parental responsibilities with respect to the child have been given or allocated to a party other than the child’s parent or that the child has been placed outside of and does not reside in the home of the child’s parents (excluding a child that has been placed for adoption); or
- A child’s parent, who is the child of the grandparent, has died.
If one of the following above applies, a grandparent can intervene in the already existing case to request grandparent time with the child(ren). A grandparent must file a motion to intervene and an affidavit as to why it is in the best interests of the child(ren) to have regular time with their grandparents. The Court will look at the best interests of the grandchildren the same as it does in a divorce case. The Court will look at the interrelationship between the children and grandparents, the desires of the parents and grandparents, the distance between the parties, etc.
A grandparent may not request visitation rights more than once every two years, absent a showing of good cause. Given this, it is important to put a strong case forth the first time you request rights as a grandparent. If you are seeking grandparent visitation, schedule a meeting with an attorney to discuss your case before proceeding.