Several states have revised the statutory visitation provisions, but the constitutionality of these statutes may still be in question.
If an intermediate appellate court in a particular state has ruled a visitation statute unconstitutional, it does not necessarily render the statute invalid.
Every statute requires courts to consider the best interests of the child before awarding custody or visitation to grandparents.
Courts in a number of states have ruled that statutes providing for grandparent visitation violate either the federal or the respective state constitutions.
We are providing this guide to grandparent rights in all 50 states.
Should you need specific legal advice on your own grandparent rights, consult a lawyer in your home state who specializes in family law and who may know of any recent changes in your state's laws.
Under a new bill passed in 2016, a biological or adoptive grandparent can sue for visitation if the parents’ relationship has been severed by death, divorce, or legal separation, or if a petition for divorce or legal separation has been filed.
This new law states that the parents’ decision to deny or reduce visitation is presumed correct.
If a grandparent is the primary provider of care to their grandchild or if a grandparent has lived with their grandchild for a period of six months without a parent, this could be considered a qualifying relationship to sue for visitation.A court may award visitation rights if the child's parents' marriage has been dissolved for at least three months, or the child is born out of wedlock.However, if a the parents of a child born out of wedlock marry, the family is then considered an intact family and is subsequently exempt from these types of suits.Adoption cuts off all visitation rights of the natural grandparents.Grandparents cannot file for visitation rights in California if the grandchildren are living in an intact family unless specific conditions are met: the parents are living separately, a parent’s whereabouts are unknown for a month or more, the child has been adopted by a stepparent or the child does not live with either parent.