Many people think they have a general idea of how custody and visitation work. For example, it's a common misconception that grandparents are entitled to visitation. From the point of view of California law, they are not.

However, there are certain circumstances when grandparents can petition the court for visitation.

Married Parents

Generally speaking, grandparents do not need to petition the court for visitation—parents generally encourage and freely offer visits between grandchildren and grandparents. Sometimes, however, married parents will refuse grandparent visitation. In the eyes of the court, that is within the parents' right – the grandparents cannot file for visitation if the parents are still married (with some exceptions).

Divorced Parents

If the parents are no longer married, and one parent holds sole legal custody of the child, that parent is considered the legal guardian. The court is unlikely to go against the wishes of the sole legal custodian.

If the parents are no longer married and the parents share legal custody, however, things can get complicated if one parent objects to visits between the grandparents and grandchildren. 

If one parent is deceased, and the surviving parent objects to visits between the grandparents and grandchildren, things can get even more complicated. 

It's All About the Child

As with most custody decisions by the court, any decision will be weighed most heavily on what is best for the child. That means while there are no inherent rights for grandparents to be granted visitation, there are also no hard rules that they cannot be granted visitation. Ultimately, it is for the court to decide based on the best interests of the child and how the grandparent's visitation would support those best interests.

Park Family Law Can Help

Do you have an issue with grandparent visitation? To help you obtain the best results for all the complicated aspects of custody and visitation, call the attorneys at Park Family Law.

Whether you need an experienced mediator to amicably and efficiently settle your case or an aggressive litigator to get you the best results in court, Park Family Law can assist you every step of the way.