Legal Information: Maine

Custody

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Updated: 
November 10, 2017

Can a grandparent get visitation?

Possibly. A grandparent may be able to get visitation rights from the court if:

  • one or both of the child’s parents have died or
  • the grandparent has a close relationship with the child or
  • if there is not a close relationship, the grandparent has made a sufficient effort to form one.1

To grant visitation rights, the judge has to decide that it would be in the best interests of the child and it would not significantly interfere with the parent-child relationship or with the parent’s authority over the child. The judge will consider the following factors:

  • The age of the child;
  • The relationship of the child with the child's grandparent(s), including the amount of previous contact;
  • The preference of the child, if old enough to give a preference;
  • How long the child has been in the same living arrangements and the desire for consistency
  • How stable any proposed living arrangements for the child would be;
  • The motivation of the parties involved and their ability to give the child love, affection and guidance;
  • The child's adjustment to the child's present home, school and community;
  • The ability of the parent and grandparent to cooperate and resolve disputes or to learn to cooperate in child care;
  • Any other factor affecting the physical and psychological well-being of the child; and
  • If the grandparent is a convicted child-related sex offender.2Note: If the grandparent has been convicted of any child-related sex offense, the judge has to make sure the child would be safe on visits and might require the visits to be supervised. If the conviction is for certain sex offenses, though, the judge must assume that no visitation is in the best interests of the child but the grandparent can try to change the judge’s mind.3

1 M.R.S.A. 19-A § 1803(1)
2 M.R.S.A. 19-A § 1803(3)
3 M.R.S.A. 19-A § 1803(7),(8)