The Latest on Grandparent Visitation
What’s the latest on grandparent visitation? The decision to separate a child from his or her grandparent is not always an easy one. For one reason or another, a parent may decide it is best to separate the two. Do the grandparents have any rights? Will the court intercede on their behalf?
Grandparent do not have Free Access
Although it might seem fair to Granny or Pop Pop, the law does not automatically grant them free access to their children’s offspring. We previously covered the eight factors reviewed by the court in reference to grandparent visitation. These considerations are made in accordance with the guidelines presented in the statute regarding this subject. In summary, the judge is obligated to consider the following when an application for grandparent visitation is made:
- What is the relationship between the child/children and the grandparent(s)?
- Who does the child live with and how is the relationship between the grandparents and those parties?
- How long has it been since the child has been in contact with the grandparents?
- How will the proposed visitation effect the relationship between the child and his or her parents? If the child does not live with his or her parents, how will it impact the relationship the child has with the residential guardian?
- If the parents are divorced or separated, will the grandparents’ visitation possibly interfere with time sharing arrangements?
- Have the grandparents filed the application in good faith?
- Has the grandparent been accused of any abuse or neglect?
- Is the visitation in the best interests of the child?
Best Interests of the Child
Court rulings have stressed that it is up to grandparents to prove their visitation is in the best interest of the child. In fact, it is crucial that grandparents prove that the grandchild would suffer harm by not visiting them.
Take the recent case of Anthony C. Major v. Julie Maguire, decided by the New Jersey Supreme Court on January 12, 2016. Like many matters of this type, it involves unfortunate circumstances. Anthony and Suzanne Majors were the happy grandparents to a little girl born in 2007. Their son and the child’s mother, Julie Maguire separated in 2009. At that time the child’s father was diagnosed with cancer and subsequently died in 2013. Prior to the loss of their son, the grandparents visited the child regularly and helped with her care.
After their son’s death, Mr. and Mrs. Majors were upset because they were only permitted to see their granddaughter on limited occasions. They applied to the court seeking relief. They were initially denied as the court did not feel they had made a case as to why their grandchild would be harmed. The Supreme Court disagreed and set up a procedure to be used in cases of this nature.
At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have assisted grandparents who have been denied visitation. Contact us concerning your current situation so that we may provide you with experienced legal advice.