Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Grandparents may have visitation and custody rights too

Only recently have courts come to realize the full importance of a grandparent's role in the upbringing and wellbeing of a child. As a result, the courts honor and support many California grandparents' rights including visitation and custodial rights under certain circumstances.

Of the two, custodial rights are more difficult to obtain, but can be acquired, depending on the situation. Even if the relationship between a grandparent or grandparents and a child is strong, courts will almost always make certain that one or both of the parents maintain custody.

However, as we have stressed before in previous posts, maintaining the best interests of the child is always the primary concern for the courts. If grandparents can prove that a custodial parent is unfit to properly take care of the child, the courts may award custody to a grandparent. This may be the case if a parent has a history of abuse, suffers from alcohol or drug abuse or suffers severe financial difficulties. Regardless of the reasoning, it is still difficult for a grandparent to obtain custodial rights for a child if the parents object.

Visitation rights are easier to obtain, but are still subject to certain conditions. Like the case of granting child custody to a grandparent, the courts must also determine whether granting visitation rights is in the best interests of the child. To do this, courts may look at various factors such as the previous relationship between the grandparents and the child, or even that a grandchild could be harmed if visitation rights are not granted.

There is no denying the fact that grandparents in a child's life often improve the wellbeing of a grandchild. Unfortunately, various family law issues must be resolved if a grandparent is denied visitation rights or is seeking custody for the grandchild.

Source:, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed on Sept. 29, 2015

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