Kevin Qualls Family Law
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Review of grandparents' rights in California

As this blog has discussed previously, while their rights are not the same as those of parents, grandparents have certain rights to see and, at times, even have custody over their grandchildren. With respect to visitation rights, state law allows grandparents to ask a court for an order requiring that they be allowed to have contact with their grandchildren in certain circumstances, such as when one of the child's parents is deceased or the parents are divorced. Although getting such an order is more difficult when a child's parents are married, it is not impossible.

A grandparent will have to demonstrate certain things to the court in order to get court-ordered visits, as the presumption is that a child's parent is in the best position to decide whether and to what extent grandparents can be involved in their grandchildren's lives.

This will require their presenting evidence in court. The evidence will need to show that they indeed have an established relationship with their grandchild and that maintaining that relationship is in their grandchild's best interest, so much that is justifies overruling any objection on the part of the child's parent.

In certain cases, grandparents can also get custody of their grandchildren by asking for a guardianship over them. However, in order to get a guardianship, they will need either to get all surviving parents to agree to it or they will need to demonstrate convincingly that the parents cannot or will not take care of their children to a minimally acceptable standard.

Concerned grandparents who wish to have visitation with or custody over their grandchildren have legal options available to them. They may wish to explore these options with an experienced Orange County family law attorney.

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