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When do grandparents have custody and visitation rights?

What will happen to the children is one of the most contested and contentious issues of any divorce. New Hampshire readers know that it can be difficult reach a reasonable conclusion to custody and visitation matters, but it can be even more complex when there are disputes over how much involvement grandparents can have. In some cases, grandparents could have a rightful claim to visitation and custody. 

If you are a grandparent and believe you should protect your right to maintain a strong and active role in the life of your child, you may find it helpful to seek legal guidance. You may be able to petition the court and secure the right to have an active role in the life of your grandchild. The ultimate goal of any custody or visitation determination is the best interests of the kids.

What does the court consider? 

As a grandparent, you play an important role in the life of your grandchild. It could be in the best interests of the child to maintain close contact with extended family members after divorce or family dispute. If you formally request the right to have contact with your grandchild, the court may consider the following factors:

  • The physical and emotional needs of the child
  • The wishes of the child
  • The length and nature of the relationship between you and your grandchild
  • The wishes of both the parents and grandparents 

There are circumstances in which it may be appropriate for a parent to seek custody of his or her grandchild. In these situations, the court will look at the home life, the parents and other factors, including the following:

  • The safety of the child in the parents' home
  • Evidence of abuse or any type of substance abuse
  • Evidence of neglect or other issues that could compromise the child's safety 

Grandparents who wish to seek visitation or even custody of their grandchildren would be wise to first seek a complete evaluation order to understand their legal options.

Navigating complex family law concerns

Seeking custody of a grandchild or even receiving visitation rights are family law issues that can be complex and difficult to navigate on your own. By first seeking a complete evaluation of your case, you can better understand the legal options available to you. As a grandparent, you are entitled to an explanation of how you can preserve and protect your relationship with your grandkids.

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