In certain situations, grandparents may be awarded visitation rights. This type of visitation is awarded in order to make certain that children receive the added developmental benefits of having access to those relatives. Grandparents may also be awarded custody of their grandchildren if both of the child's parents are deceased or if the parents are unfit.
In order to be awarded grandparent visitation, a number of different conditions must be met. Grandparents must be able to prove to the court that visitation is in the best interests of their grandchildren. The court may also consider the marital status of the parents and whether or not visits with the grandparents have been denied.
Courts may require the grandparents to show that they had good previous relationships with their grandchildren and that their grandchildren might suffer harm if visitation is denied. California allows grandparents to seek visitation in cases in which stepparents have adopted grandchildren. A law stating that grandparents do not lose their rights when stepparents adopt grandchildren withstood a legal challenge in 2014 when a California Court of Appeals found the law to be constitutional.
Following a divorce, if a custodial parent refuses to allow grandparents to have visits with their grandchildren, it is sometimes possible for the grandparents to seek and obtain visitation rights through a motion filed with the court having jurisdiction over the matter. A family law attorney might assess a situation and explain whether or not securing a visitation order might be possible as well as the process that is involved.