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Grandparents and visitation rights after a divorce

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2024 | Divorce & Family Law

Divorce can be a challenging time for everyone involved, including grandparents. Although they may not have automatic visitation rights, they can still request it primarily if it serves the child’s best interests.

What factors are considered for courts to grant visitation rights?

Courts prioritize the best interests of the child when it comes to making decisions about visitation. In Virginia, courts base their decision on certain key factors:

  • Strength of the grandparent-child relationship: A well-established and positive bond between them is crucial.
  • Potential harm to the child: The court will assess if denying or approving visitation will cause emotional or psychological distress to the child.
  • Parents’ wishes: The parents’ objection may carry significant weight when courts decide if they will grant visitation rights.
  • Grandparents’ capacity to provide care: The court will assess the grandparents’ physical, emotional and mental capacity to care for a child responsibly.

After a divorce, the primary role of grandparents is to support their children (as parents) during this transition. Still, they can request visitation rights, especially if they bond closely with their grandchildren.

How can grandparents request visitation rights?

Grandparents may take specific steps to maintain a connection with their grandchildren. They can openly express their desire to be part of the child’s life or seek mediation to develop a mutual agreement between the parents. Otherwise, grandparents may file a petition with the court requesting visitation rights.

Child custody and visitation cases can become emotionally fraught and complicated, particularly when non-parents are involved. As such, it may be advisable to seek a legal professional to help navigate the complexities of family law. Remember that visitation rights should align with the child’s best interests and promote a healthy, positive relationship with their grandparents.