Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Grandparents' rights to court-ordered visits in California

As is the case in other states, grandparents in California have certain rights under the law that may allow them to have court-ordered visits with their grandchildren. These rights can be important for all grandparents who have and want to keep meaningful relationships with their grandkids, and they are especially important when a grandparent has historically had a role in providing his or her grandchild with care and support.

With respect to getting visitation, courts give a lot of deference to the wishes of the child's parents, especially when the parents are married. However, under certain circumstances, grandparents can request visitation, even if the child's parents remain legally married.

Assuming they are eligible to ask for visits, a grandparent wanting a visitation order has to prove two things to a court. First, the grandparent will have to show that they actually have a standing relationship with their grandchild such that to cut off visits would not be in the child's best interest.

However, even if visits are in the child's best interest, a court also will have to consider the rights of the child's parents to decide with whom the child will have a relationship. This might mean in some cases that the wishes of a parent will control even over what a judge thinks is best for the child, although this of course need not always be the case.

Although this is an overview of what a grandparent needs to prove if they want court-ordered visits with their grandchildren, the details of how grandparents' visitation rights work are nuanced and can even depend on how the local judge interprets them. For this reason, grandparents are often well-advised to seek out the assistance of an experienced Orange County family law attorney.

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