When You Need Visitation With Your Grandchild
The image of a loving family gathered together with abundant laughter and happiness is a reality for only some; often families deal with real-life problems that prevent those seemingly effortless contacts that are held up as the ideal. When circumstances have you not just longing for but requiring time with your grandchild, the law may be on your side. The contribution that grandparents bring to the well-being of a child is not only recognized by the law, but provisions have been put in place in some states to protect the grandparent's right to spend time with their grandchild. Read on for more information.
Reasons for needing visitation
If you have faced an increasing tendency to be blocked from seeing your grandchild, you may seek court-ordered visitation if you can show good cause. Ordinarily, the courts deal exclusively with visitation for a non-custodial parent, not a grandparent. You must be able to provide proof that your involvement with the child is in the best interest of the child. If the child is residing in a stable environment, your efforts will likely not be successful, but if there are factors affecting the health and well-being of the child present, you may be granted visitation if you are considered fit. Here are some unfortunate, but common, family situations that might lead to a judge ordering grand-parental visitation.
1. A divorce has created a hostile relationship between you and the parent.
2. A death, incarceration, drug use, reduced mental capacity, or reduced physical capacity of one parent has resulted in an uncooperative relationship between you and the other parent.
3. You are being denied time with the child and you have reason to believe that one or more parents are unfit to care for the child due to any number of reasons, such as drug use, criminal activity, etc.
How the judge evaluates your fitness
If you can convince the family courts that a need exists for a visitation hearing, be prepared to be judged on your fitness to spend legally-ordered time with your grandchild. You must understand that if your request is granted, you must take times and rules around the visitation seriously. Legal visitation orders are not just suggestions, they are orders and must be followed. Know what you are asking for before you begin the process, and be ready to show proof of the need for your intervention into the current custody plan. The judge will consider:
1. What the child wants, if they are old enough to state an opinion.
2. The current relationship between you and the child. For example, do you already have a history with the child? Is the child accustomed to spending time with you?
3. Your physical health and mental state.
4. The health of the child. For example, if the child has physical or mental differences, are you prepared to deal with it?
5. Is your home in a convenient, safe and appropriate location?
When you are forced to go through the courts to get time with your grandchild, it is always a heartrending task. Speak to a family law attorney to learn more about seeking visitation with your grandchild.