Legal Information: California


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February 16, 2022

Can grandparents get visitation?

Sometimes. Whether or not the parents of the child are married or unmarried, the grandparent will have to prove that s/he has such a close relationship and bond with the grandchild that visitation would be in the best interest of the child. However, if both parents agree that the grandparent should not be granted visitation rights, or if the one parent who the child lives with (with that parent having sole legal and physical custody over the child or if there is no court order) does not want the grandparent to have visitation, the judge will assume that the visitation of a grandparent is NOT in the best interest of the child. It is then up to the grandparent to try to change the judge’s mind and prove that the visitation IS in the child’s best interests.

However, if the parents are married, there are additional restrictions that the grandparent has to follow. The grandparent can file for visitation only if one or more of the following circumstances exist:

  1. The parents are currently living separately on a permanent basis;
  2. One of the parents has been absent for more than one month without the other spouse knowing where s/he is;
  3. One of the parents joins in the petition with the grandparents (consents to the visits);
  4. The child is not living with either parent;
  5. The child has been adopted by a step-parent; or
  6. One of the parents is incarcerated or involuntarily institutionalized.1

1 Ann.Cal.Fam.Code § 3104 (a)(1)-(2), (b)(1)-(6)

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