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Grandparents Visitation Rights

Grandparent’s Visitation Rights New Jersey

Grandparent’s Visitation Rights New Jersey grandma and grand daughter with pinwheel

Why and When a Grandparent Would Need a New Jersey Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Lawyer

Becoming a grandparent can be one of the best experiences that can happen in a parent’s life: holding a newborn and seeing both the past and the future reflected in their tiny features; hearing the joyous laughter of a toddler; watching a grandchild achieve a milestone, such as graduating from college or getting married.  And, when a grandparent is ready for their nap, or to go out to dinner, well, there’s an old saying: Being a grandparent is better because you get to give the child back! 

What if, though, you, the grandparent, has an acrimonious relationship with your own child or your son or daughter-in-law that has poisoned the potential relationship between you and your grandchild(ren)? What if your relationship with your grandchildren just isn’t close? What if your grandchild’s parents are divorced? What if your child has even forbidden their children from seeing you, their grandparent? 

You may have rights, referred to as Grandparent’s Visitation Rights, depending upon the particular facts of your case. A New Jersey Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Lawyer can help you exercise them. Let’s look at what steps to take if you feel you’re unfairly being kept from seeing your grandchildren: 

First, see if you can resolve the situation civilly without engaging a lawyer

More than likely you’ve already tried this step, though it may be worth trying again: an email stating your hopes or a telephone call, with an olive branch and a simple request. We’re not suggesting you’re going to be able to mend the overall rift with your child that has resulted in your not being allowed to foster a close relationship with your grandchild(ren), but perhaps a willingness to listen will break down the barriers and allow for a simple visit— a small place to start. (Sometimes the rift will happen, tragically after a parent’s death, usually between the parent not related to the grandparent: try to act as compassionately as possible while also remembering you may have rights.) 

Consult with a New Jersey Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Lawyer

You’ll want to find the lawyer who you feel has the best grasp on your unique situation, and who is a good fit with you personally. Working with your lawyer, you may ask your lawyer to reach out to your grandchild’s parents. Or you may want to craft an application to the Court asking the Court to grant you, the grandparent, visitation rights. Such rights aren’t automatic or guaranteed, but rather won after you and your lawyer successfully petition the Court. 

Bring documentation to your lawyer

You and your lawyer will have to provide sufficient evidence that the grandchild would be harmed without access to his/her grandparent, as well as demonstrating that it’s in the best interest of the child (the gold standard for all family law decisions) to spend time with their grandparent. Text messages, emails, voicemails, photos— anything that you feel might be relevant to your lawyer is worth showing to them. 

Rule N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1. provides the legal right for a grandparent to file a petition with the court for have visitation with their grandchildren. There are no guarantees, of course, once a petition is filed— but obviously nothing will happen until you take the first step. And sometimes just knowing that a grandparent is fighting to see their grandchildren will be enough to soften the complicated and complex family dynamic. 

What issues may impact the Court’s decision, or have led to the difficult and strained relationship in the first place? Let’s examine some of them: 

  • What is the type of relationship experienced between the grandparent and child(ren)? Is it close, or distant? 
  • What is the parent or guardian’s relationship with the grandparent(s)— and should that necessarily impact the next generation? 
  • When was the last time the child(ren) and grandparent(s) had contact of any kind? Was it positive contact, or did it end negatively? Do both parties view the contact in the same light? 
  • How will visitation with the grandparent(s) affect the parent(s) or guardian(s) of the child(ren)? Will this be a positive step for the grandchildren? 
  • Is there a parent-sharing agreement between divorced parents? Did the separation or divorce play a part in the estrangement of the grandparents? 
  • Is there a history of abuse committed by grandparent(s) regarding grandchild(ren) or child(ren)? Obviously, this is one of the most difficult and sensitive areas the Court can contemplate with regards to addressing the issue of grandparent’s rights. 
  • What are the other relevant questions and/or issues as presented by the grandparent(s), grandchild(ren) or parent(s) to the Court? 

If you, the grandparent, and your New Jersey Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Lawyer, are successful, you may have trepidation about reestablishing contact and/or visitation with your grandchildren (or even your own child). Remember it’s a process and takes time: there’s no need to attempt to win over the grandchild immediately with a big gesture (basically, avoid the ‘divorced Disneyland Dad’-syndrome, in which divorced fathers take their kids on a big outing). Just showing up and listening— being present— is enough. And that goes for your treatment towards the parent or guardian who may have caused the estrangement in the first place. If it goes well, there will likely be more encounters; more opportunities to be part of your grandchild(ren)’s life, to bring a present or go on an outing then. Also, be sure to be good to yourself, and to schedule some recuperation time afterwards: you may want to have a cup of tea with a friend or take a walk— anything that helps you process. 

At O’Cathain Law Group our motto is Move Forward. Grandchildren, of course, do nothing but move forward: the first step, the first word, the first tooth— onto the next thing! Working with your New Jersey Grandparent’s Visitation Rights Lawyer you can exercise your rights to be there alongside with them as you take the next step and Move Forward together. 

Are you a grandparent who’s being denied visitation? Schedule a consultation today. Call (201) 488-1161, fill out the intake form, or email a dedicated Family Law paralegal to speak with a New Jersey Grandparents Visitation Lawyer at O’Cathain Law Group. 

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