Under California law, a grandparent has the right to make a request to the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild. A California court will take into the pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild, that has “engendered a bond,” and will balance the best interest of the child in having visitation with a grandparent with the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child.
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Grandparent visitation can be granted to a grandparent who makes a request to the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild. For the court to grant grandparent visitation, the court has to find:
- That there was a pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild that has “engendered a bond;”
- That such a bond between grandparent and grandchild makes it so that visitation is in best interest of the grandchild.; and,
- Balance the best interest of the child in having visitation with a grandparent with the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child.
Grandparent Visitation while Parents are Together
In general, grandparents cannot file for visitation rights while the grandchild’s parents are married. But there are exceptions, like:
- The parents are living separately;
- A parent’s whereabouts are unknown (and have been for at least a month);
- One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation;
- The child does not live with either of his or her parents; or
- The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.
If a grandparent has visitation through the courts, and things change and none of these exceptions apply any more, one or both parents can ask the court to end the grandparent’s visitation and the court must then end the grandparent’s visitation rights at that time.
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