Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights After Divorce? It Depends on the Facts

The Divorce Courts in California will likely grant a formal request for visitation if the Grandparents and the child have an existing significant relationship.

In a recent case the California Court of Appeal addressed this case: a k1319729child was born in 2004, and her grandparents were very active in her life, including acting as caregivers much of the time. The child’s parents divorced, and the child and her father moved in with the grandparents. Thereafter, the relationship between the child’s father and the grandparents soured when the father began taking prescription medication. In 2011, the father and daughter moved out of the grandparents’ home, and the father informed the grandparents they would never see their granddaughter again. The grandparents’ attempts to schedule visits were unsuccessful.

scale of justice

The child’s mother, however, started to permit the grandparents to visit with the child during her parenting time, and when the father discovered this arrangement, he became angry, so the child’s mother ceased the visits. In 2013, the grandparents petitioned the superior court for an order permitting them to visit their granddaughter. Pursuant to Family Code § 3104, the trial court awarded visitation to the grandparents. The father brought the present appeal. In affirming the trial court’s decision, the Court of Appeal stated: “We conclude section 3104 permissibly reflects a legitimate state interest in preserving an already existing grandparent-grandchild relationship that is threatened but in the best interest of the grandchild to safeguard.”  (Stuard v. Stuard (Cal. App. 3rd Dist., Feb. 5, 2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 768, review filed Mar. 16, 2016

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