Legal Information: Virginia


December 31, 2021

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

What you will have to prove in court to get visitation depends on whether both parents object to you having visitation or just one parent objects.

Both parents object
If the natural parents are considered fit and they both do not want you to visit with the child, you will have to show the court that your grandchild’s health and welfare will be actually harmed if you are denied visitation. It is not enough to show that it would hurt you if you were denied visitation. You have to show that the child would actually be harmed if the court didn’t let the child visit with you and that visitation is in the child’s best interests.1

One parent objects
However, if only one parent objects to you having visitation and the other parent wants you to visit with the child, you do not have to prove that the child will be actually harmed. You will only have to show that it is in your grandchild’s best interest to visit with you.2

Note: If your adult son/daughter, who is your grandchild’s parent, is deceased or incapacitated, you can show the judge any proof you have of his/her consent to your grandchild having visitation with you.3

1 Williams v. Williams, 501 S.E.2d 417, 418 (Va. 1998)
2Yopp v. Hodges, 598 S.E.2d 760, 765 (Va. App. 2004)
3 Va. Code § 20-124.2(B2)

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