Hope for California Grandparents Requesting Visitation with their Grandchildren
A recent California court decision gives grandparents additional hope for their visitation cases.
Stuard v. StuardRecently, the California courts have given grandparents and great grandparents even more hope for gaining visitation with their grandchildren with the newly published California Court of Appeal, Third District, decision in Stuard v. Stuard. The Stuard decision stated: "It is common knowledge that children who have strong loving adults in their lives thrive. These relationships become even more vital during times when families are dissolving and changing." The Stuard court found that it was in the best interests of the child to preserve an important and continuing relationship with the child's grandparents.
Family Code section 3104The Stuard case specifically addressed California Family Code Section 3104, which states that a grandparent can ask the court for reasonable visitation with a grandchild. Under that specific section, to give a grandparent reasonable visitation with a grandchild, the court has to: (1) Find that there was a pre-existing relationship between grandparent and grandchild that has "engendered a bond." This means that there is such a bond between grandparent and grandchild that visitation is in the best interest of the grandchild. The court must also: (2) Balance the best interest of the child in having visitation with a grandparent with the rights of the parents to make decisions about their child. California Family Code sections 3100-3105 address a grandparent's rights to visitation and the situations the court must consider before granting visitation.
Court Forms and ResourcesIn Orange County and Riverside County, as well as other counties, there are specific local forms one must file for visitation. In some California counties, an "Order to Show Cause" (OSC) or "Notice of Motion" may be filed with a proposed visitation schedule.
Legal DisclaimerThis legal guide should not be construed as formal legal advice or the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. Obtain legal advice from a lawyer if you think you may have a case for grandparent visitation.