When a couple divorces and there are ongoing custody and parenting time disputes between the parents, the grandparents could be denied visitation. In New Jersey, absent the existence of certain specific criteria, grandparents do not have a legal right to visitation with their grandchildren. Visitation rests solely in the discretion of the parents. If you have been denied visitation of your grandchildren, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to determine the best legal course of action.
How Do I Request Visitation as a Grandparent?
According to the New Jersey Grandparents and Siblings Visitation Statute (GSVS), a grandparent living in New Jersey can apply for visitation by filing an application for same, either in the county where the child lives or the county of the Court that is making the parenting time or custody order. You must be able to prove that denial of visitation will harm the child. Without this showing, a Court cannot mandate visitation pursuant to the best interests factors of the GSVS. The Court will consider the following factors when determining whether to grant a grandparent with visitation:
- The relationship between the child and the grandparent.
- The relationship between the child’s parents or the child’s guardian and the grandparent.
- The amount of time that has passed since the child last had contact with the grandparent.
- The impact the visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents or guardian.
- The parents’ time-sharing arrangement if they are already divorced.
- The grandparent’s reason for requesting visitation.
- Any history of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect by the grandparent.
- Any other factors that are relevant to the child’s best interests.
How Are Visitation Rights Enforced?
Once the Court has granted you visitation rights, the child’s parents must cooperate. If the parents refuse to allow visitation, there are steps that can be taken with help from a lawyer, including the following:
- Filing an enforcement motion.
- Calling the police, but it is likely that the police will determine this to be a civil matter that is to be handled by legal counsel.
- Contacting a child custody attorney.
- Asking your child custody attorney to write a demand letter telling the parents to comply with the order.
If the parents are denying visitation and you wish to take legal action, contact an experienced child custody attorney as soon as possible.
Somerville Child Custody Attorneys at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC Can Help Protect Grandparents’ Visitation Rights
The experienced Somerville child custody attorneys at Lepp, Mayrides & Eaton, LLC can assist you with the implementation, modification, enforcement, or termination of child custody orders. Call us at 908-800-7676 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.
Located in Somerville, New Jersey, our attorneys serve clients throughout Central New Jersey, including those in Somerset County, Hunterdon County, Warren County, Morris County, Mercer County, Monmouth County, Union County, and Middlesex County.