Information from Fresno Grandparents’ Rights Lawyers

If you are a grandparent who wishes to have visitation time with your grandchildren, you may be able to receive court-mandated visitation rights. As long as you have a bond with the grandchild and the court recognizes that it is in the best interest of the grandchild to see you from time to time, you should be able to exercise your visitation rights as a grandparent.

The experienced Fresno family law attorneys at the Law Office of Rick D. Banks recognize that a divorce affects not only the separating couple and their children, but also extended family members such as grandparents. Laws surrounding visitation rights of grandparents can be confusing and complex. Call us to find out how we can help you understand and interpret these laws to protect your rights.

Call us today at (559)222-4891.

Understanding California Visitation Law

California law allows grandparents to ask the court for visitation time with a grandchild. Before granting this request, the court must determine if there is a pre-existing relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild and if there is an established bond. When there is a strong bond, the court will likely recognize that it is in the best interest of the child to allow reasonable visitation time.

However, if the grandchild’s parents are married, the grandparents can only pursue visitation rights from the court if:

  • One of the parent’s whereabouts has been unknown for at least a month
  • The parents are living separately
  • One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation
  • The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent
  • The child does not currently live with either of his or her parents

Protecting Your Visitation Rights as a Grandparent in Fresno

If you wish to seek legal visitation in court, you can file a petition. This process can prove challenging without the counsel of an experienced family lawyer, particularly if there is already a case filed in family court between the parents of the grandchild.

Parentage cases, child support negotiations, and domestic violence restraining orders can affect how a grandparent must file. When there is an open case, the grandparent may be able to ask for visitation under one of the existing hearings. When there are no existing cases, the grandparent can start a new case and file a petition in court.

However, it is often advisable to avoid protracted court battles. It may be in everyone’s best interest to open up a dialogue or to consider mediation. Openly discussing needs and concerns is typically more effective than going to court. Resolving disputes out of court can save money and relieve family stresses in the future.

Exploring Your Options

Grandparents’ rights in Fresno do not end with visitation rights. Some grandparents are able to receive guardianship status. This can occur if the parents are absent or unable to care for the child. Guardianship is separate from full time custody and it is quite different from adoption. In a Fresno guardianship, parents retain their rights and they can ask for reasonable contact with the child. The court can also end the guardianship once the parents are again able to take care of the child.

If you wish to have a relationship with your grandchildren, you need to speak with a knowledgeable family law attorney. Grandparents have rights in California, and grandchildren do benefit from spending time with loving, supportive grandparents. If you are a grandparent looking to get more information about your rights, call us at (559)222-4891 for a no obligation consultation.