Need help Understanding Grandparents' Rights in Orange County, CA
Important information on: Grandparents' Rights in Orange County
The relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is much different than the relationship a child shares with their parents.
Although not a child's primary caregiver, grandparents have a special role in contributing to a child's overall wellbeing.
Grandparents' rights in Orange County, CA aren't very straightforward and it's important to know where they start and end.
You should always meet with a qualified Orange County grandparents' rights attorney to discuss your case before proceeding with any legal matters.
What are grandparents' rights in Orange County, CA?
A grandparent may request either guardianship or custody of a grandchild in the state of California.
Each arrangement comes with different rules, regulations, and obligations.
In order to understand how grandparents' rights work, it's crucial to know the two main types of child custody:
- Physical custody: This refers to where the child lives or spends a considerable amount of time.
- Legal custody: A parent or grandparent with legal custody is responsible for making important decisions on behalf of the child such as education, religion, or medical care.
A grandparent with guardianship is granted legal and physical custody of the child. This agreement simultaneously suspends the parents' custody rights so it's only granted in cases where both parents are absolutely unfit to raise a child.
If a grandparent obtains guardianship, this does not terminate the parents' visitation rights. Guardianship orders are processed through your local California probate court.
Grandparents may also request a specific type of physical custody called visitation. Through this order, grandparents may request to spend a reasonable amount of time with the grandchild.
A visitation agreement must not interfere with the parent's current custody agreement or legal custody decisions.
Orange County grandparents' rights attorney explains how to exercise your rights
It isn't as simple as just filing a court order and requesting visitation – your specific situation must meet certain conditions in order to qualify for visitation rights.
Make sure you understand how these rules apply to your case.
Legal matters can be traumatizing for children and could strain your relationships with family members. Talk to an Orange County grandparents' rights attorney before going forward to ensure the best outcome.
Conditions for requesting visitation
Grandparents seeking visitation must meet both conditions below before filing a court order.
- The grandparents and grandchild have already established a close-knit relationship. Granting visitation would be in the grandchild's best interests because they have created a bond with the grandparent.
- A grandparent's visitation time must not interfere with the parent's custody rights. The grandparent's visitation must be balanced with the parents' decisions and obligations.
Conditions for seeking guardianship
The courts generally don't want to take away a parent's custody rights unless they put the child's wellbeing at risk.
In order for a grandparent to seek guardianship of a grandchild, the parent must meet certain conditions. A grandparent may only request guardianship if the other parent cannot assume legal custody.
One or both parents must:
- Have a debilitating mental illness
- Are in the military or deployed overseas
- Have a substance abuse problem
- Be preparing to enter an inpatient rehab facility
- Be entering jail or prison for an extended period of time
- Have a history of domestic violence or abusive behavior
- Be otherwise unable to care for the child
The goal is to place the child in a safe and stable environment. If a parent is not able to do that, the court may grant guardianship to a grandparent.
How the parents' situation impacts grandparents' rights in Orange County, CA
Not all grandparents may request visitation.
In fact, grandparents' rights in Orange County, CA are dependent upon the parents' living situation.
If the parents are still married and living together with the child, grandparents generally may not request visitation.
If the parents are still married, the grandparent could possibly seek visitation. This situation could include:
- The parents are still married but living separately
- One parent has gone missing for at least one month
- One parent signs-on to the grandparent's request for visitation
- The grandchild does not live with either parent
- A step parent has adopted the grandchild
Orange County grandparents' rights attorney offers tips for requesting visitation
In most cases, it's in everyone's best interests to work out visitation issues on your own without filing a court petition.
However, this is not always possible for whatever reason.
If you want to exercise your rights, take these tips into consideration before starting the legal process.
You need to show the courts that granting visitation is in the child's best interests because you already have a solid relationship with your grandchild.
Keep track of all the time you spend with them. Take pictures and save receipts. If you call your grandchild on the phone frequently, write it down in a logbook.
It may seem petty, but you need evidence to back up all your claims in court.
It's easy to get emotional when your grandchildren are on the line. Make sure to keep your goals realistic and grounded.
If you have a sordid relationship with the grandchild's parents, they may fight your court order to the end. Be prepared to compromise.
Find the best grandparents' rights attorney in Orange County, CA
It's generally a pretty foolish move to enter a courtroom alone without any legal representation.
Make sure to meet with a qualified grandparents' rights attorney in Orange County, CA to go over your case. They can help you understand all the local legal code and make sure all your documents are in order.
Grandparents' rights attorney in Orange County, CA
Grandparents' rights in Orange County, CA aren't as cut and dry as parental rights. Each case is entirely unique and faces different challenges.
It's important to discuss your situation with a qualified grandparents' rights attorney in Orange County, CA. Yanez & Associates offers free consultations so there's absolutely no risk or obligation. Give us a call anytime at 714-971-8000.