Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Child custody: California grandparents' visitation rights

In California, a grandparent may be granted visitation rights from the court under certain conditions. As with all court decisions involving the relationship between a child and family, the best interest of the child is always the primary concern. If the grandparents can show that they have a strong relationship with the child, the court may grant them visitation rights. Ideally, there must be a strong bond between child and grandparent. A grandparent may also ask for visitation rights, if the child's parents are not divorced.

The court will need to make certain that grandparent's visitation rights do not interfere with the parent's rights to make decisions about the child. However, there are exceptions. If the child's parents are not living together or if the parent's location is not known, the grandparent may obtain visitation rights.

Additionally, if a child's parent requests the court to grant visitation rights to the grandparent, the California court may grant visitation rights. Also, if the child has been adopted, such as a stepparent or different family member, the grandparent may ask for visitation rights. Nonetheless, if a grandparent has asked for visitation rights and the living situation changes to the point where none of the exceptions mentioned earlier apply, the parents may ask the court to end the previously granted visitation rights.

Issues related to grandparents' visitation rights are often best resolved out of court. Sometimes, a conversation between grandparents, and the parents may help in creating a mutually acceptable decision and agreement out of court.

Source:, "Visitation Rights of Grandparents," accessed on July 5, 2015

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