Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in California?

Posted in uncategorized on July 28, 2023

Suppose you are having a serious quarrel with your parents or in-laws or simply think it is unsafe or unnecessary for your children to see their grandparents. In that case, you may wonder if grandparents have custody rights in California. Many parents often question this from time to time, especially during heated arguments or disagreements when the grandparents suggest that they will get custody or visitations with their children regardless of what they decide is best for them. You need to know and remember that you are not alone during this difficult time.

Explaining Child Custody

According to the California Courts, if someone has custody of a child, they are legally responsible for caring for them. There are two different types of child custody, which include:

  • Physical custody: Physical custody means that the child lives with you full-time.
  • Legal custody: Legal custody means that you are responsible and have the right to decide for the child regarding their education, well-being, healthcare, and more.

Some parents share joint custody, meaning they are physically and legally responsible for the child.

Do Grandparents Have Custody or Visitation Rights in California?

Grandparents typically do not have custody or visitation rights in California. This is because California law makes it clear that parents have the right to decide whether their child sees or has a relationship with their grandparents.

Some situations may emerge where grandparents request visitation with your child. This usually happens when:

  • The child’s parents are separated or do not live together.
  • The child’s parents are not married or in a domestic partnership.

When both parents are together and have decided that they do not want the child to have time with or see their grandparents, the grandparents cannot file for visitation. This is because it is the parent’s decision on who gets to visit their children. However, there are a few exceptions, such as if one parent is in jail or unable to be found (for at least one month), a stepparent adopted the child, or the child does not reside with either of their parents.

What If My Child’s Safety Is at Risk?

If you are a parent who believes that your child’s safety is at risk around or with their grandparents, you can go the extra mile to seek the help of a family law attorney. At Ratzer|Dobis, we take these cases very seriously and will ensure your story is heard. Our team will prepare an argument to show and convince the judge to order that your child cannot be around their grandparents.

Your Child’s Best Interest Is Always the First Priority

While your rights as a parent matter, it is important to know that your child’s best interests are always the top priority in California. Therefore, if the judge finds that it is in your child’s best interest to visit or live with their grandparents, this will outweigh your right to make the decisions for the child.

Talk to a California Child Custody Lawyer Today

If you are a parent or grandparent with questions or concerns regarding your child or grandchild, please contact a family law attorney from Ratzer|Dobis as soon as possible. We will not only review your legal rights, but we will also ensure that you understand your legal options. Our lawyers always consider the child’s best interests when assisting clients with these cases. That said, you can expect the same throughout the entire process of your case. Please call or complete our contact form to schedule your free case review today.

During the COVID-19 crisis, Ratzer | Dobis is working and available to discuss your case with you. Learn More Close