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Legal Information: U.S. Virgin Islands


January 29, 2021

When can a grandparent file a petition for visitation rights?

In the Virgin Islands, a grandparent can file a petition for visitation in court if any of the following are true:

  • the parents of the minor child are currently living separately and they plan to stay that way, or they are not sure how long they will be living separately;
  • one of the parents has been absent for more than one month and the other parent doesn’t know where that parent is;
  • the child is not living with either parent and has not been legally adopted; or
  • the minor child’s parent died, and the petitioning grandparent is the deceased person’s parent. However, if the minor child’s living parent remarries, and the minor child gets legally adopted by a step-parent, the grandparent cannot file for visitation.1

Note: A “grandparent” is defined under the law as:

  • the biological or adoptive parent of either parent of the minor child;
  • a biological grandparent of a child adopted by a step-parent; or
  • a relative of the child, including a step-parent of the minor child’s parent, where a substantial relationship exists between the relative and the child.2

1 16 V.I.C. § 604(a)
2 16 V.I.C. § 603