Visitation for Grandparents

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Can grandparents get visitation?

Yes, if the court believes it is in the best interests of the grandchild.

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How will the court decide if it is in the grandchild’s best interests?

The court considers various facts about the child, the parents, and the grandparents, including:

  • If the grandparent has had (or tried to have) meaningful contact with the grandchild.
  • If the parent has allowed any visitation with the grandchild in the past.
  • The relationship between the grandparent and the parent.

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How can I get visitation rights with my grandchild?

First, talk to the child's parent. It is usually better to work things out without going to court. But if you cannot agree with your grandchild's parent, you can ask the court for visitation.

Note: If the parents were not married when the grandchild was born, paternity may have to be established before the paternal grandparents can ask the court for visitation. (A paternal grandparent is the mother or father of the child’s father.)

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How does a grandparent ask the court for visitation?

If your grandchild’s parents are divorced, you must file papers in the county where the divorce was ordered. If they are not divorced, file papers in the county court where your grandchild lives.

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Can a grandparent ask to have more visitation with a grandchild?

Yes. The court may give the grandparent more visitation if it believes it is in the best interests of the grandchild. But in most cases, the court will not interfere with the parent's decision on how much visitation to give a grandparent.

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Reviewed August 2009