Representing Granparents in Family Law Cases
Child custody disputes don’t only affect parents and children. They can have a major effect on grandparents too. Grandparents whose grandchildren are caught up in custody disputes can feel like they are at the mercy of often uncooperative parents when it comes to getting visitation with their grandchildren.
This can be even more complicated when the grandparents are on the side of a parent who has lost custody of their children. The remaining parent can often be hostile about visitation with the other side of the family. Thankfully in Massachusetts grandparents do have some legal avenues they can pursue in these cases.
Grandparent Rights Regarding Child Custody and Visitation
Under certain circumstances in Massachusetts, grandparents can seek court ordered visitation with their grandchildren. In order for this to be an option, the parents must be divorcing or living separately. If the parents live together however, there is no right to seek grandparent visitation.
In addition to divorcing or separated parents, the court must also determine grandparent visitation is in the best interest of the child. The grandparents must be able to show they have a significant relationship with the child that would be disrupted by a lack of visitation.
A detailed affidavit is required along with the petition for grandparent visitation that details how all the requirements for court ordered visitation are met. Due to this need, it is highly advisable that any grandparents seeking to petition a court for visitation seek out the expertise of an experienced family law attorney who will prepare an affidavit and represent the grandparents before a judge.
Massachusetts Law on Grandparent’s Rights
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 199 Section 39D provides for grandparent’s rights in certain family law situations. Under this statute visitation rights might be afforded to grandparents:
- If the parents of the child are divorced, married but living apart, or under a temporary order or judgment of separate support.
- If either or both parents are deceased.
- If the child was born out of wedlock and the paternity of the child has been established by a court or the father has signed an acknowledgment of paternity
Get A Case Evaluation
If you think that your rights as a grandparent are being violated we can help. Contact us to discuss your specific situation regarding the rights to visitation with your grandchildren.
Attorney Cote offers a free case evaluation to better understand your situation and address some of your initial questions and concerns. Call to speak with us and learn you options.