GRANDPARENTS’ RIGHTS ATTORNEYS IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CA
Grandparents often play a pivotal role in the lives of their grandchildren. Some grandparents have assumed the responsibility of raising their grandchildren. In fact, 2.5 million of them are raising 13 million grandchildren.
The courts hold that preserving the relationship between parents and children is in the best interest of the children. However, that does not exclude the rights of grandparents who have relationships with their grandchildren, from being awarded visitation rights as well. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld broad visitation rights from grandparents so long as those rights do not interfere with a parent’s right to oversee the care, custody, and control of their child.
If you have questions about your rights as a grandparent to seek visitation or custody of grandchildren, The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer may be able to help. We help grandparents in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Hayworth, and Pleasanton, California, and in Alameda County or Santa Clara County, who want to exercise their legal right to spend time with their grandchildren. If you have that right under the law, we will guide you through the legal process so you can preserve that relationship.
WHAT ARE GRANDPARENTS’
RIGHTS IN CALIFORNIA?
If a parent is prohibiting you from seeing your grandchildren, you may be able to petition the court for visitation rights, unless the parents of the child are still married. In that case, you can only ask the court for visitation if:
The parents live separately;
One parent has been absent and whereabouts unknown for at least one month;
One parent joins you in asking for visitation;
The grandchildren don’t live with either parent;
The grandchildren have been adopted by a stepparent; or,
One parent is incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized.
If you are awarded visitation based on any of these situations and the situation subsequently changes, parents can ask the court to terminate your visitation rights.
Petitioning the court for visitation requires serving copies of the petition on anyone who has physical custody of your grandchildren. The issue will automatically go to mediation in California in an effort for all parties to reach an agreement for visitation without going to court. If mediation fails, the court will decide.
In all matters involving children in California courts, decisions are based on the best interests of the children. The burden of proving that a grandparent’s visitation rights are in the children’s best interest rests with the grandparent.
Among the factors the court will consider are:
The nature of the grandparent’s relationship with the children and frequency of contact between them;
The children’s health, safety, and well-being;
Any history of drug abuse by anyone seeking visitation;
Every adult’s use of alcohol or drugs; and,
The wishes of children ages 14 or older.
If a parent dies, the court will consider visitation rights for parents, siblings, and other relatives of the deceased parent. Although other relatives need to have had contact with the children prior to the parent’s death, grandparents need only prove that their visitation rights are in the children’s best interest.
Visitation rights for grandparents whose grandchildren have been adopted by someone outside of the family are terminated upon adoption. In other words, when the relationship ends between the parent and the child, so does the grandparent’s relationship.
If there is an existing court case open involving custody and visitation matters for your grandchildren, you can petition the court for a visitation order under the existing case. If there is no open case, you will need to:
Complete court forms and a petition requesting the order;
File the forms and petition with the Clerk of the Court;
Obtain a mediation date;
Have the petition served on anyone who has physical custody of the children;
File the proof of service with the court; and,
Attend the initial court hearing or mediation.
Custody may be granted to parents or anyone else who can provide a stable and nurturing home for children. Many grandchildren live with grandparents in California due to the inability or unwillingness of the children’s parents to care for them. The court may grant grandparents in this situation legal custody of grandchildren so they can make decisions about their healthcare, education, and other matters.
Even in situations where grandparents do not have physical custody of grandchildren if grandparents can provide the support, care, and guidance the children need, the court may grant them legal custody.
WORK WITH AN EXPERIENCED
FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY TODAY!
Grandparents can be a sustaining force for their grandchildren and provide much-needed support for their parents. Many grandparents want to have a close relationship with their grandchildren, even if that relationship isn’t always supported by the parents. Although the wishes of parents in the lives of their children take precedence, that does not always mean there isn’t room for grandparents.
When talking to your grandchildren’s parents fails, when you believe your grandchildren live in a dangerous environment, or when you want to formalize your custodial rights for grandchildren who live with you, you need an experienced family law attorney to help you explore your rights under California law.
GRANDPARENTS’ RIGHTS ATTORNEY IN SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA
At The Law Offices of Steven E. Springer, we know how to bear the burden of proof required by the courts. We are dedicated to delivering compassionate, knowledgeable, and experienced representation to grandparents who want to spend time with, or be responsible for, their grandchildren. If you live in San Jose, Morgan Hill, Fremont, Hayworth, or Pleasanton, California, or in Alameda or Santa Clara counties, let us answer your questions about your visitation and custody rights. You deserve to exercise your legal right to have a relationship with your grandchildren so wait no longer. Call our office today for help!