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When does a grandparent have visitation rights in California?

Divorce takes a toll on children. As parents squabble about many issues, such as spousal support or child custody, children worry about their future. Parents often wonder who will pay for child support or for the children's medical expenses. In the best interest of the child, the court awards child custody to one parent and orders the other to pay child support. However, it may not always be possible for a parent to look after their child. In those cases in California, a grandparent may be given custody or visitation rights.

If you are a grandparent and need information about grandparents' visitation rights, then there are resources that are available to guide you. A grandparent in California may seek visitation rights. In these cases, a court considers several factors, including if the grandparent developed a bond with the child. The court will also determine if a grandparent's visitation is in the best interest of the child or not.

The third factor that a court will consider is if grandparent's visitation will interfere with a parent's decision making. Typically, grandparents cannot apply for visitation rights if the child's parents are not divorced. However, there are certain exceptions to this. If the child's parents are not living under the same roof or the whereabouts of a parent are not known for a month or if a parent has made an appeal to the court regarding grandparent's visitation, then the court may consider the grandparent's visitation.

In cases where a child is adopted by a stepparent or if the child is not living with the child's parents, then the court may give visitation rights to the grandparents. If the grandparents have applied for visitation rights through the court and the situation has changed, then the court can choose to end the grandparents' visitation rights.

California grandparents should consider these rules if they want time with their grandchildren. However, grandparent visitation and custody cases are complicated and this post should only be used as general information. An attorney can help people understand their rights in specific situations.

Source: California Courts, "Visitation Rights of Grandparents," Accessed on March 1, 2015

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