What are Grandparents’ Rights to Child Visitation in New Jersey?

Grand-Parent Visitation Rights Knowing the Law is Critical

When parents get divorced, they very often have to endure the litigation process to settle their child custody terms. Usually, both spouses feel as though they are entitled to more time with their child than the other. If one parent was granted sole custody, the other is left fighting for visitation rights. Similarly, when a couple gets divorced, grandparents will also sometimes have limited visitation rights. If you are a grandparent and are seeking to play a role in your grandchild’s life, please read on to learn more about your legal options going forward:

What will the courts consider when determining my visitation rights as a grandparent?

If you are seeking visitation with your grandchildren, you must file a formal motion with the court requesting as much. From here, the courts will consider several factors when determining your visitation rights. They are as follows:

  • The existing relationship between the parents and the grandparent;
  • The effect the visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents;
  • If the parents are divorced or separated, the time-sharing arrangement between the parents concerning the child;
  • The existing relationship between the child and the grandparent;
  • Any history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect by the grandparent;
  • The time elapsed since the child last saw the grandparent and the reasons for any lapse in contact;
  • If the application is brought by a relative of a deceased parent, the time-sharing arrangement previously established with the deceased parent and the extent of contact previously enjoyed with the relative during the time the child was in the custody of the deceased parent;
  • The good faith of the grandparent in applying; and
  • Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

Can a grandparent become a child’s legal guardian?

If a parent dies or a child is removed from both his or her parents’ custody, a grandparent can seek guardianship or some form of child custody, depending on the circumstances. Outside of death, some of the other reasons that may provide cause for the state to remove a child from his or her parents’ care include:

  • Incapacitation
  • Economic limitation
  • Abandonment
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Substance abuse
  • Mental health issues
  • Incarceration
  • Medical condition

Contact our experienced Bergen County firm

At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our attorneys have extensive experience helping clients to understand and protect their legal rights before, during, and after the divorce process in towns across New Jersey and Bergen County, including Hackensack, Ridgewood, Paramus, Teaneck, and Fort Lee.

To speak with our team of divorce lawyers today in a free and confidential consultation regarding your concerns about moving out of your marital home during your divorce, please contact us online, or through our Hackensack, NJ office at (201) 397-1750.

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