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To Grandmother’s House We Go: Visitation Rights of Grandparents

When a divorce occurs, it is not only a split between two people, but also two families. Grandparents of either side may be afraid that they will not get to see their grandchild due to the conflict that exists between the parents. In California, grandparents can file for visitation rights if certain circumstances apply. First, it is important to understand the laws regarding grandparent visitation rights. Second, you should consider the benefits of family mediation for creating a grandparents visitation schedule.

Legal Recourse for Grandparents

In California, a grandparent can request reasonable visitation if the court finds that:

  1. There was a pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild that has “engendered a bond.” Which means that the child and grandparent have a strong enough bond that it is in the best interest of the child to continue developing and nurturing that relationship.
  2. Need to balance the best interest of the child in having visitation with the grandparents with the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child.

It is important to note that grandparents cannot file for visitation rights in the court while the parents are married, unless some very specific exceptions apply. Some of these include: separation, abandonment, adoption by a stepparent, or the child doesn’t live with either parent. The court does not like to overstep their bounds when it comes to parents making decisions for their child. Even if you think you may be able to file for visitation rights, it is always best to try and create an agreement out of court.

Grandparents Rights and Mediation

The best way to approach grandparent visitation is to sit down and discuss the issue with a neutral mediator. Mediation between the grandparents and parents is a wonderful opportunity to discuss the desire to have a positive relationship with their child while respecting expectations the parents may have. An experienced mediator will help guide conversation to be productive and non-confrontational. Together, you can create a schedule and a solution that works for everyone.

If you are a grandparent who is requesting visitation with your grandchild, call San Diego Family Mediation Center at (858) 736-2411. We are happy to schedule your initial consultation with our experienced San Diego mediators.