Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Do Grandparents Have a Right to Request Visitation Rights?

Grandparents’ Rights in New Jersey are Limited

Many grandparents count among their greatest pleasures a visit with their grandkids, but such visits can be denied after a divorce if a parent isn’t interested in continuing that relationship.

It doesn’t matter that these grandparents would be heartbroken if they weren’t able  to continue visiting their grandkids. And it doesn’t matter if the kids would benefit from having a relationship with those grandparents.

What determines whether a grandparent can get visitation? 

What matters is whether a child would be harmed if there was no relationship with those grandparents.
New Jersey courts have increasingly followed suit with a decision made by the Supreme Court a few years ago that takes the position that parents’ right to decide what is best for their own children is a Constitutionally protected right.

In New Jersey, grandparents can petition for and obtain the right to visit a grandchild over a parent’s objection only if the grandparent can show that denying such visits would harm the child. Such rights are usually granted in cases where the grandparent can show that there is already a long-term existing relationship with a grandchild, especially one where a strong bond has developed between grandparent and grandchild.

What the courts consider in granting visitation

The eight factors used to determine whether the grandparent should be granted visitation rights include:

1. Relationship between the child and the grandparent

2. Relationship between the child’s parents, or the person with home the child is living with and the grandparent.

3. How long it’s been since the child last had contact with the grandparent.

4. The effect that the visitation would have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is living.

5. If the parents are divorced or separated, the custody arrangement between the parents.

6. The grandparent’s good faith in filing the application for visitation rights.

7. Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant.

8. Any other factors deemed relevant to determine whet best interests of the child.

Photo credit: vastateparksstaff

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