There is no set definition of what a family should be. Every family is unique. Sometimes, grandparents may be rearing and caring for their grandchildren without the children’s parents, which may be in the best interests of the children.

According to California law, a grandparent has the right to request reasonable visitation or custody rights if the pre-existing relationship between child and grandparent has created a bond and, when the child’s parents are divorcing, continuing that grandparent-child relationship is in the best interests of the child.

Grandparent’s visitation rights

A grandparent may feel that he or she needs the court’s assistance to get adequate visitation with the grandchild(ren). For the court to grant visitation rights, the court must determine if the bond between the grandparent and child is strong enough that granting visitation rights is in the best interest of the child. And, the court must determine the role of the parents in the life of the child. The court will grant a visitation request if it is deemed to be reasonable, in the best interest of the children and does not interfere with the relationship between the children and their parents.

Grandparent’s custody rights

The most common reason for a grandparent to seek legal custody of a grandchild is due to the death or incarceration or abandonment of the child by his or her parent(s). Yet, sometimes the parent is still involved in the child’s life and the grandparent feels that the parent is unfit to raise the child properly. A parent can be seen as unfit to raise a child if the parent is abusive or neglectful or has emotional or mental issues or addiction to drugs or alcohol, which contribute to the parent’s, or parents’, inability to care for the child properly. The court will determine what is in the best interests of the child when deciding who will have custody.

If you are a grandparent who is seeking custody or visitation rights for your grandchild in California, you need to hire an experienced and knowledgeable grandparents’ rights attorney.