Grandparent Visitation Rights in NJ

Grandparents play an important role in many families, especially if they are also responsible for taking care of their grandchildren. But what happens when the child's parents file for divorce or separation, do grandparents have the right to maintain a relationship with their grandkids? 

In New Jersey, grandparents do have a legal right to obtain reasonable visitation time with their grandchildren. First, a grandparent must file a petition in the county court where the grandchild resides or in the court that already issued a custody and visitation order involving the child. 

Next, the grandchild’s parents must be notified of the petition. The court encourages the grandparents and the child’s parents to reach an agreement through mediation. 

At the court hearing, a grandparent needs to prove to the court that the child would suffer harm if your visitation request was denied. 

A judge will consider the following factors to decide if a grandchild will be harmed without grandparent visitation: 

  • If the child’s home experiences life-altering changes during or after the parents divorce or separate. 

  • If one parent passes away 

  • If the grandparent has an established relationship with the grandchild 

  • If there is expert testimony that the child would suffer psychological injury 

A grandparent must also show the court that it is in his/her grandchild’s best interest to spend time with him/her. Grandparents must provide evidence of their relationship with their grandchild, their relationship with their grandchild’s parents, how the proposed time would potentially affect the child’s relationship with his/her parents, the divorced parents’ visitation schedule, the length of time since they had contact with their grandchild, and other factors that are relevant to the best interests of the child. 

If a grandparent acted as the child’s full-time caretaker, a judge will consider such responsibility as evidence that the grandparent's visitation proposal is in the best interests of the child. 

If you are interested in grandparent visitation in Somerset County, NJ, contact DeTommaso Law Group today at (908) 274-3028 to schedule a consultation. Our legal team has more than 125 years of collective family law experience! 

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