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When Should a Grandparent Hire a Lawyer to Protect Their Rights?

A grandchild’s relationship with their grandparent can be meaningful, often involving sharing cherished family moments and memories. However, there are situations where grandparents may not be able to spend time with their grandchildren as they wish, and at times, unable to see them. In such cases, a grandparent may need to protect their rights and maintain a meaningful relationship with their grandchild.

When a grandparent feels the well-being of their grandchild is at risk, they may want to consult an experienced family law attorney to protect their rights. Let’s explore the concept of grandparent rights, the conditions that must be met in California to grant these rights, the court’s considerations, and how hiring an experienced San Bernardino family lawyer can ensure these rights are protected.

Grandparent Rights: What are They?

Grandparent Rights

When parents have parental rights, they can actively participate in their children’s lives. Unless in cases where parents demonstrate neglect, abuse, or other significant issues, they usually have the legal rights to custody or visitation with their children.

On the other hand, grandparents do not always have the legal right to see their grandkids. The child’s parents decide how much time they wish the grandparent to spend with their child. While in most cases these arrangements work perfectly, other times a grandparent may require a lawyer to protect their rights. The rights can be granted to ensure the child’s well-being by recognizing a grandparent’s vital role in a child’s life.

When Should a Grandparent Hire a Lawyer to Protect Their Rights?

Although parents are the primary contacts in child custody issues, a grandparent can have a say about visitation rights and custody. A grandparent may want to hire a lawyer when:

  • The parents are divorced or separated, and a grandparent fears their bond with the grandchild may be jeopardized.
  • They have been unjustly denied visitation with their grandchildren.
  • They are concerned that the child’s well-being is at risk while under the parent’s custody.
  • A parent has passed away, and the surviving parent is trying to limit or cut off the grandparent’s access to the child.
  • They wish to understand and establish legal guardianship of a grandchild.

However, it is essential to note that a grandparent may be barred from petitioning for visitation if the grandchild is in an intact family. The parent’s parental rights and decision not to allow a grandparent to see the kids takes precedence over any grandparent’s rights.

What Conditions Must Be Met to Grant a Grandparent’s Rights?

To grant grandparent rights in San Bernardino, CA, specific conditions must be met:

  • One of the child’s parents has passed away, is incarcerated, or has been absent for a significant period (more than a month)
  • The parents are living separately
  • The child does not live with either parent
  • A stepparent has adopted the child
  • One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation

Considerations the Court Makes in Grandparent Rights Cases

Not every grandparent is eligible for visitation rights in California. When a grandparent seeks legal help to protect their rights, the court takes into account several considerations, including the following:

  • The grandparent’s relationship with their grandchild
  • The relationship between the grandparent and the child’s parents
  • History of neglect, abuse, or mental illness of the grandparent
  • If the grandparent’s visitation will affect the child’s parental time
  • Age and preference of the child. Older children (14 years and above) may have more say in their preferences, while younger kids may rely more on the court’s decision.

How Working With a Lawyer Can Help

When grandparents face challenges in protecting their rights, working with a family lawyer can be instrumental in navigating the complex system and increase the chances of a successful outcome. A family lawyer can help in these critical ways:

  • Guidance on the best course of action – A San Bernardino family lawyer knowledgeable on specific visitation and custody laws in San Bernadino can offer guidance on the best course of action.
  • Negotiation and Mediation – Family lawyers are skilled negotiators who can try to resolve the issue through mediation, avoiding costly and lengthy court proceedings.
  • Evidence gathering – A family lawyer can help gather crucial evidence to build a compelling case in court.
  • Court representation – In cases where mediation fails, a family lawyer can represent a grandparent’s interests in court, presenting evidence demonstrating why the grandparent’s contact with the child is in the child’s best interests.

Contact an Experienced Grandparent’s Rights Lawyer in San Bernardino, CA Today

A grandparent’s bond with their grandchild is an invaluable one. At the Law Office of Joyce Holcomb, we understand the importance of this relationship and acting in a child’s best interests. If you are considering petitioning for grandparents’ rights in San Bernardino, CA, contact our experienced grandparent’s rights lawyers at (909) 889-7111 today to learn more about how we can help preserve your relationship with your grandkids.

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