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Legal Information: Massachusetts

Custody

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Updated: 
March 29, 2019

I am the child’s grandparent. Can I get visitation?

In order to get visitation from the court, grandparents must show that not being able to visit with the child will cause the child significant harm, and in particular, will hurt the child’s health, safety, or welfare.1 The grandparents must also show that visitation would be in the child’s best interests.2

Grandparents can ask the court to order visitation only if any of the following are true:

  • one or both parents are dead;
  • the parents are divorced;
  • the parents are married but are living apart;
  • the parents are under a temporary order or judgment of separate support; or
  • the parents are unmarried and living apart. (Note: If the paternal grandparents are the ones seeking visitation, the father’s paternity must be established before the grandparents can file for visitation.

The grandparents cannot ask for a visitation order from the court if both parents are:

  • alive;
  • married;
  • living together; and
  • refusing to let the grandparents visit with the child.2

1 See Blixt v. Blixt, 437 Mass. 649(2002)
2 M.G.L. 119 § 39D