Written by attorney Bettina Yanez

Grandparents Rights in California

Do grandparents have rights in California? That depends on whether the parents are married and whether a strong bond exists between the grandchildren and the grandparent. Pursuant to California Family Code Section 3103, “The court may grant reasonable visitation to a grandparent of a minor child of a party to the proceeding if the court determines that visitation by the grandparents is in the best interest of the child," but The court needs to balance the child's best interest in having visitation with a grandparent with the right of a parent to choose with whom the children will visit. It is best for a grandparent to keep the lines of communication open with parents and obtain permission from one or both parents. If court intervention is required then a grandparent will need to do the following:

________ Are Parents Married? If the parents are married and living together you are best served trying to obtain permission to visit as a Petition will most likely not be granted over both parents objection.

If you can answer yes to these questions, you can file a petition for grandparent visitation with your local family court.

________ Are Parents separated and one parent has been absent from the child's life for 30 days?

________ Will one parent join in your petition for grandparent visitation?

________ Is there a strong bond between you and the grandchildren?


  1. Go to to obtain the forms needed or you may go to the Self help center on the first floor

of the Family Court

  • Lamoreaux Justice Center: First Floor, Room 101

    • 341 The City Dr. South, Orange, CA 92868
  1. You will need to file form L-0373 - Petition for Grandparetns Visitation

  2. The grandparent needs to notify the parents, stepparent, or any person who has physical custody that he

or she is filing a Petition for visitation

  1. The notification needs to be by certified mail, return receipt requested with postage prepaid, sent to the last

known address of the parent, stepparent or any person with physical custody or to any attorney of record.

  1. Present evidence or testimony to rebut the rebuttable presumption that affects the burden of proof that grandparent visitation is not in the children’s best interest, if the child’s parents are in agreement that the grandparent should not have visitation with the children.

  2. You will need to explain to the court why visitation with you is in the children's best interests

Additional resources provided by the author

www. Family Law Facilitator at the Lamoreaux Justice Center, First Fllor, Room 101 for assistance or ask for the list of attorney that will provide unbundled services at reduced rates. see local family rules of court at

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