Grandparent Visitation

Grandparent Visitation and Custody

If you are a grandparent and want visitation with your grandchildren, there are many resources that can help you learn about your options and understand your rights as a grandparent. To give a grandparent reasonable visitation with a grandchild, the court has to 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 best interest of the grandchild and 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.

As a grandparent, you may be able to obtain custody of your grandchild under certain circumstances. For example, if a parent passes away, leaving his or her child with a surviving parent, custody can be sought if the parent can be shown to be "unfit" and it would be in the best interest of the child to reside with the grandparents.

In general, grandparents cannot file for visitation rights while the grandchild’s parents are married. But there are exceptions, like:

  • The parents are living separately;
  • A parent’s whereabouts are unknown (and have been for at least a month);
  • One of the parents joins the grandparent’s petition for visitation;
  • The child does not live with either of his or her parents; or
  • The grandchild has been adopted by a stepparent.

If a grandparent has visitation through the courts, and things change and none of these exceptions apply any more, one or both parents can ask the court to end the grandparent’s visitation and the court must then end the grandparent’s visitation rights at that time.

Our attorneys help grandparents from Ellsworth, Maine, Hancock and Washington Counties Steve Juskewitch will assist Grandparents to recognize and assert their rights to child custody and visitation issues. If you are in a situation where your rights are being denied, Steve Juskewitch will help determine your legal options, and possibly, petition the state for visitation rights.

Contact us at 207-667-0483 to speak with an experienced lawyer about grandparent visitation.