Grandparents can enrich children’s lives, providing care and love that has a lasting positive impact. The laws and courts in New Jersey recognize this and, therefore, will grant grandparents visitation with children when it’s in a child’s best interests, even if the parents disagree. In fact, grandparents and other relatives can exercise their rights to seek visitation with a child after various life-altering events, from divorce and legal separation to the death of a parent.
If you are a grandparent or a sibling who wants to establish or modify visitation with a child in Monmouth County, NJ, you can turn to the grandparents’ rights attorneys at Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law for help. We have vast experience representing clients in visitation cases, including those that involve especially complex or sensitive issues.
rt your grandparents’ rights, so you can protect what matters most—the precious child(ren) in your life.
When Can Grandparents Get Visitation in New Jersey?
Grandparents, as well as the siblings of a child, can seek visitation with that child when a family is intact, as well as when parents may be separating or divorcing. The death of one or both parents is also usually a time when grandparents and siblings seek to formalize their rights to visitation.
In some cases, New Jersey courts will also be open to granting visitation to the biological grandparents or siblings of an adopted child, though the adoptive parents’ wishes may influence these decisions.
How to Exercise Grandparents’ Rights to Visitation in New Jersey
Grandparents seeking visitation will need to go to court, explain why they are seeking visitation, and establish a few other key factors, including:
- Their relationship with the child: With this factor, the courts are focused on determining whether a lack of visitation would harm a child. Demonstrating financial support of a child or showing that care has routinely been provided for a child can go a long way to showing that grandparent has the child’s best interests in mind.
- Their relationship with the child’s parents: This goes to show that a grandparent and parent can work together to prioritize the child’s needs and interests.
- How long it has been since they have had contact with the child: The courts want to know how actively involved a grandparent has been in a child’s life prior to requesting visitation.
In addition to evaluating these factors, the court will also consider:
- Whether granting visitation would have any impacts on the relationship between the child and the parent(s)
- How physical custody (parenting time) is divided if the parents have divorced
- The physical and mental fitness of the grandparent(s) requesting visitation
- Whether the parent(s) and/or grandparent(s) have a history of abuse
- Other factors deemed relevant to the child’s best interests
If the court grants grandparent visitation, parents or legal guardians can request a modification or revocation of visitation in the future, with certain grounds.
Can Grandparents Get Physical Custody of Children in New Jersey?
To seek physical custody, rather than visitation, with a child, a grandparent will need to:
- File the proper custody request with the family court: This request must be filed in the county in which the child lives. If there is a custody case underway, this request would be filed with the court handling that custody case. Once the request has been filed, the parent(s) or legal guardian must be served with a copy of the filing. Typically, the parties will need to mediate the issues and try to work out an agreement; if they cannot, the court will intervene.
- Demonstrate that the parent(s) or current legal guardian is not fit to care for the child: Unfitness could include untreated additional issues, abuse, incarceration, and/or untreated mental health issues. In some cases, expert witnesses can be key to establishing unfitness and the impacts that have had (or will have) on the child.
- Prove that granting physical custody to the grandparent would be in the child’s best interest: There can be various ways to establish this, and an attorney can be crucial to helping you do this when the time comes in court. Character witnesses, evidence of time with the child, and even the child’s own wishes (when the child is old enough to express them in court) can all be powerful best-interest evidence in custody cases.
Contact an Experienced Red Bank Grandparents’ Rights Attorney at Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law
When it’s time to seek visitation and assert your grandparents’ rights in Monmouth County, NJ, it’s time to contact Dwyer, Bachman, Newman & Solop Attorneys at Law. Our boutique family law firm is home to talented, trusted divorce attorneys who are known for their dedication and compassion, as well as their expertise and record of success.
Backed by more than 100 years of combined family law experience, our team is skilled at providing tireless, fierce in a simple to complex child custody cases.
Call (732) 431-0150 to find out more about your visitation options and how to proceed.
With everything that’s on the line, the more prepared you are, the better. That’s where our team comes in. We can explain the issues involved, help you anticipate and overcome the challenges ahead, and work diligently to craft you a persuasive case. We can also:
- Balance your emotional and financial needs, helping you figure out the best course(s) of action to support those needs
- Champion your rights in mediation and court hearings
- Present the strongest possible case while setting it up for the best possible outcome
Don’t gamble visitation or the success of your case by trying to it all by yourself. The sooner you contact our firm, the sooner we can start advising, supporting, and representing you.