If the parents of your grandchildren have divorced and have settled their custodial issues, their new custodial arrangement could conflict with your wishes as a grandparent including how often you will be able to see your grandchildren. Although New Jersey has a statute in place to protect grandparent's visitation rights, the body of case law in this area continues to evolve and the outcome of each case is very fact sensitive. Enforcing your right to see your grandchildren is more difficult than one would think.
If you are a grandparent and seek assistance in acquiring visitation rights with your grandchildren, your first step is to seek the help of an experienced attorney in this area of family law.
The balance that the courts try to strike is a resolution between a parent’s Constitutional right to raise their children as they wish, and the general belief that a child benefits from receiving the love and care from a grandparent. The deciding factor will be what the court considers to be in the best interest of the child as well as other deciding factors.
As a grandparent you need to be able to offer proof that your participation in your grandchild's life is in his or her best interest. If, for example, you can prove that you have had frequent contact in the child's life or if the child lived with you for a period of time, this will go a long way in proving visitation is in the child's best interests and that there is no definable harm to the child if that visitation did not occur. That said, should the court determine that a grandparent poses any kind of risk to the child's safety, visitation may not be granted.
As a grandparent, you do have certain legal rights to visit your grandchildren, and the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., LLC, we are experienced in helping grandparents protect their rights.