Grandparent Visitation and Custody Requirements

Grandparent Visitation and Custody Requirements


The visitation rights of Grandparent have been accepted in every state for the past forty years. The primary intent of these rights is to guarantee that a grandchild has access to the developmental and emotional advantages of having their grandparents in their lives. The grandparent’s custody rights may be implemented when the child’s parents are incapable of properly caring for their child or when they’re deceased or imprisoned.

The below post provides a typical summary of grandparent visitation rights throughout the US, even though the specifics differ by state.

Grandparent Custody Requirements

Statutory terms for child custody (called “conservatorship” in a couple of states when it is someone other than the parents of the child) are typically less specific than the laws concerning grandparent visitation. Courts are required to first examine the relationship of the parent or parents with the child prior to considering if it might be relevant to grant custody to grandparents. A lot of states explicitly include deliberation of grandparents as custodians when both parents have passed away.

If either or both parents are still living, courts in a lot of states are going to presume that the parents of the child should maintain custody. Grandparents are required to generally prove the parent is unfit in order to persuade the court that the child needs to be placed with them. Even when the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild is substantial, it’s usually very complicated for a grandparent to get custody of their grandchild without the approval of the parents.

Requirements for Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents typically have to fulfill certain terms before they can be awarded visitation. The marital status of the parents is required to be taken into account in the majority of states before a court is going to evaluate the related factors to establish if visitation is appropriate.

In some states, the marital standing of the parents is considered only when the grandparents have been declined visitation by the parents. Other states, marital standing is thought of only if the grandchild lived with the grandparents for a certain amount of time.

A limited number of states require that at least one parent has passed away prior to a court granting visitation to the parent of the dead parent of the child. For instance, a maternal grandparent in one of those states may be granted visitation only when the mother of the child has passed away.

In each state, grandparents are required to show evidence that awarding visitation to the grandchild is in the child’s best interest. Many states also require that the court take into account the former bond between the grandparent and their grandchild, the influence grandparental visitation is going to have on the bond between the parent and child, and/or evidence of harm to the grandchild when visitation is not granted.

Impact of Adoption on the Visitation Rights of Grandparents

State statutes differ in the way they treat cases whereupon a grandchild has been adopted. In a lot of states, adoption by anybody, including another grandparent or stepparent, invalidates the visitation rights of the grandparent.

In some states, adoption by another grandparent or stepparent does not invalidate visitation rights, but adoption by anybody else does. Other states, adoption does not affect the visitation rights of grandparents, provided that other legal requirements are fulfilled.

Find Out More Concerning Your Rights as a Grandparent from an Attorney

A lot of grandparents would give up everything for spending more time with their grandchildren, but family relationships can get complex. Many states recognize the rights of grandparents to visit with their grandchildren, presuming it’s in the child’s the best interest. Learn how this could affect your family by getting a hold of an experienced family law attorney near you today.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2021, December 29). Grandparent visitation and custody requirements. Findlaw. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from

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