Bergen County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer
When parents in Bergen County refuse to allow their children to visit with their grandparents, it often seems like everyone loses. In these situations, grandparents often wonder whether they have any rights. While grandparents do have visitation rights under state law, these rights may only be enforced in certain circumstances.
If you were denied visitation with your grandchildren, a Bergen County grandparents’ rights lawyer could evaluate your situation and explain your rights under the law. A family attorney familiar with enforcement of grandparents’ rights could then assist with efforts to establish visitation time or address other legal concerns.
Parents’ Rights Take Precedence
While recent trends in family law have focused on keeping families together, this often refers only to nuclear families. Since parents are considered to have a basic right to make decisions about raising their children, if they decide that grandchildren should be prevented from enjoying contact with their grandparents, that decision may not be overturned by legal action in most cases. As a seasoned attorney could explain, this could be true even if the reasons for disallowing contact are arbitrary or spiteful.
It should be noted that if a grandparents’ rights attorney in Bergen County could demonstrate that the grandchildren may suffer serious harm if not allowed visitation, a court may overrule a parent’s wishes. In such a situation, the court would focus on the best interests of the child, rather than the interests of the grandparents.
Grandparents’ Rights vs. Parents’ Rights
While state law grants limited visitation rights to grandparents, there is no question that parents enjoy unique rights even if those grandparents have fulfilled most of the caregiving functions in a child’s life. It should be noted that grandparents’ rights may effectively outweigh parents’ rights if a court believes the parents’ decision to deny visitation rights to grandparents would cause serious physical or psychological harm to the child.
To prove that deprivation of grandparents’ rights is likely to cause the requisite harm, a Bergen County attorney should identify specific harm, either physical, mental or emotional. Typically, it is much easier to do so in situations where grandparents provided care for a child on a regular basis.
Grandparents must usually have a close personal relationship with the child to be granted visitation against the wishes of parents. The court must feel that the loss of contact with the grandparents would cause profound psychological harm.
Grandparent Visitation Rights Under the Law
State law provides a specific avenue for seeking relief when parents deny grandparents access to their grandchildren. New Jersey Revised Statutes §9:2-7.1 allows grandparents and siblings to petition the court for an order of visitation, provided the petitioning party can prove that granting court-ordered visitation is in the best interests of the child. A grandparents’ rights attorney in Bergen could help meet this burden of proof by presenting evidence showing how the grandparents fulfill vital needs in the lives of their grandchildren.
The court may also consider additional factors, which includes the amount of time since the grandparents’ seeking visitation have had contact with the child and the relationships among the grandparents, grandchildren, and the parents or others with physical custody of the child. The impact on time-sharing arrangements of the parents would also be taken into account.
Get in Touch with a Bergen County Grandparents’ Rights Attorney
While grandparents do have rights when it comes to visiting their grandchildren, enforcing those rights can prove difficult and it requires court intervention. A Bergen County grandparents’ rights lawyer could evaluate the circumstances of your case and explain your options if you have been prevented from continuing visits with your grandchildren. To learn what may be possible to achieve in your case, call today to schedule a consultation.