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Do I have any rights to visitation as a grandparent?

Being a grandparent can be a wonderful experience for any person. Oftentimes, it means enjoying all the fun parts of being a parent without having to shoulder any of the difficult responsibilities.

However, there are grandparents who do not have this or any other opportunity to spend time with their grandkids because they may be prohibited from having access to them. This can happen when the grandchild's parents get divorced, move away, put the child up for adoption or refuse to facilitate a relationship between the grandchild and grandparent.

If you are a New Jersey grandparent in this situation, then you should understand that you have the right to pursue visitation with your grandchildren. 

What you need to prove

In order to secure visitation rights according to state laws, you must be able to prove that having visitation is in the best interests of your grandchild. One way to do this is to prove that you have been a full-time caretaker for your grandchild in the past.

What the courts will consider

To determine if you should receive an order for visitation, the courts will examine a number of factors. These include:

  • The relationship you have or had with the grandchild
  • The relationship you have or had with your child or the other parent(s) of your grandchild
  • The amount of time that has passed since you were last in contact with your grandchild
  • Any parenting arrangements that are in place
  • How visitation would affect the relationship between your grandchild and his or her parents
  • Reports or a history of neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse on your part

After considering these and other elements, the courts will either award or deny visitation.

Fighting for your rights as a grandparent

If you have questions or concerns about custody or visitation rights for grandparents, it can be wise to consult an attorney familiar with these cases. Doing so can help you understand your legal options, build your claim and fight to protect your relationship with your grandchildren.

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