One of the most sensitive issues that often arises in a Family Law case is the issue of Grandparent Visitation. Under California Law, grandparents have the right in certain situations to request court ordered visitation of their grandchildren.
California allows grandparents to file their own special grandparent visitation case in situations where their child is unable to exercise any visitation, usually through death or imprisonment.
These can often be tragic cases. A typical situation would be where one of a child's parents has died, and the surviving parent will not permit the deceased parents to visit their grandchildren. In this situation, the grandparents can file a case with the Family Court and ask that the Court order that they be granted time with their grandchildren.
The other option for grandparents to obtain court ordered visitation is to ask the court to become a party to an already existing Divorce or Paternity case. This is a process known as Joinder.
Under this process, a grandparent would file a Request for Joinder with the Court and serve both of the parents involved in the case. The Judge would decide if it was appropriate for the grandparents to be joined to the case where they would be allowed to participate just as if they were one of the parents. The grandparents would ask the Court to order their own specific time with the grandchildren. This time would be separate from either of the parent's custody time.
Grandparent visitation can be a very technical and emotional issue. It is best that people dealing with these issues to become familiar with the law. It is also important to remember that everyone wants what is best for the children.