What Rights Do Grandparents Have To See Their Grandchildren?
When a grandparent has a meaningful relationship with his or her grandchild, the New Jersey courts are usually reluctant to deny the grandparent access to that child. If a parent objects, the grandparent can file a motion or complaint for visitation. N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1 provides New Jersey grandparents domiciled in the state the right to seek a court order for visitation with their grandchild. The law requires that the burden fall upon the grandparents to prove by a “preponderance of the evidence” that the requested visitation is in the “best interest of the child.” There is an inherent presumption that it is in the “best interest of the child” when the grandparent can establish that he/she has been a full-time care giver for the child. Upon such proof, the court examines and considers the following eight (8) statutory factors in its effort to rule on the application:
- Relationship between the grandparent and grandchild
- Relationship between the grandparent and the person with whom the child currently resides
- How much time has passed since the grandparent and grandchild last had contact?
- How would grandparent visitation affect the relationship between the child and his or her parents/caregivers?
- What parenting-time arrangements exist between the father and mother, if they are divorced or separated?
- Is the grandparent applying for visitation in good faith?
- Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant
- Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child
The scenario regarding Grandparents seeking visitation rights often arises at times of upheaval within their family. At times, it is the result of a parent of the child having passed away or having become incarcerated. At other times it is simply the result of the parents of the child being in the process of getting divorced. There may even be allegations of abuse or neglect by the child’s parents. Whatever the circumstance, the Law Offices of Douglas I. Krompier is ready to meet with New Jersey grandparents to discuss the possibility of visitation. Often the grandparents have an extraordinary relationship with their grandchild, to the degree that they are viewed as a psychological parent. In circumstances like this, the Court carefully considers the legal argument to support that claim of psychological parent.
Contact the Law Offices of Douglas I. Krompier MBA LLC at (732) 431-9188 to schedule a consultation today to discuss how the firm can protect your rights.