Morris County Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer
Courts in New Jersey are required to rule in the best interests of the child when handling child custody disputes and issues of child support. Parents do not always raise their children alone, though, and often grandparents are given serious consideration in family court. Accordingly, state law affords grandparents the right to petition for visitation and even legal guardianship in certain circumstances.
If you need help asserting your rights to be a part of your grandchild’s life, you may want to consult a Morris County grandparents’ rights lawyer. A family law attorney with experience handling the unique challenges grandparents face could be the advocate you need to effectively pursue the outcome you deserve.
Petitioning for Visitation
When a grandparent petitions for visitation with a grandchild, a court hearing is typically conducted to determine whether visitation rights should be granted. When determining a grandparent’s right to visitation, judges often look at factors like:
- The nature of the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild
- Any history of abuse on the part of the grandparent
- Whether the petition for visitation was made in good faith
- The amount of elapsed since the grandchild and grandparent last interacted or communicated
Petitions for visitation with grandchildren often occurs when there is a breakdown in the relationship between the grandparent and the child’s mother and/or father. Courts may order the parties to attend mediation in an effort to preserve a beneficial and ongoing grandparent-grandchild relationship.
Depending on the circumstances, the court might even grant these wishes for grandparental visitation against the express wishes of the grandchild’s parent(s). Regardless of the specific situation, a Morris County grandparents’ rights attorney could work to pursue a result that is in the best interests of both the child in question and their grandparent(s).
Petitioning for Custody & Grandchild Adoption in Morris County
In addition to court-ordered visitation rights, a grandparent may also petition to become a grandchild’s legal guardian or even pursue adoption. It can be difficult to demonstrate that a grandparent would be a better guardian than the child’s parents, but in certain cases it may be in the child’s best interest.
A grandparent seeking to become a legal guardian or adopt a grandchild generally face an uphill battle. To successfully gain guardianship or adopt a grandchild, a grandparent must provide concrete evidence they are able to provide superior care compared to the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
According to New Jersey Statutes Annotated 9:2-7.1, grandparents must provide a preponderance of evidence that their visitation is in the child’s best interest. The courts will look at many factors including:
- The grandparents’ relationship with the child
- Their relationship with the parent(s)
- Potential effects on the relations between child and parent
- Custody sharing considerations between divorced parents
- Past history of abuse and any other relevant factors
Cases in which a grandparent seeks to become the guardian or adopted parent of their grandchild are often emotionally charged and may be a result of extenuatingly difficult family circumstances. However, the court will always try to rule for the best welfare of the child, and a grandparent’s rights lawyer in Morris County could help demonstrate how a change of custody may be beneficial.
Contact a Morris County Grandparents’ Rights Attorney Today
Being a grandparent can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences, but while grandparents have rights under state law, enforcing those rights in family court can be challenging if there has been a breakdown in family relations. Contact a Morris County grandparents’ rights lawyer to explore your legal options with regard to visitation, legal guardianship, and even adoption.