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Do grandparents' visitation rights change after adoption?

If you are a grandparent seeking the legal right to visit your grandchildren, you likely know that Indiana grants you the option to petition for visitation. There are several different factors that may affect a court's ruling on your petition. For example, if you are a paternal grandparent to a child born out of wedlock, a court usually cannot grant you visitation rights without your son establishing paternity of the child. If a court grants you visitation rights, there may be changes to your situation if someone adopts the child.

According to state law as listed on the website of the Indiana General Assembly, adoption may have an effect on your visitation rights as a grandparent. Your established visitation rights may survive if a stepparent adopts the child. Additionally, visitation rights may survive your grandchild's adoption by a biological relative, such as a grandparent, niece, nephew, sibling, uncle or aunt. However, if a person without a biological relationship to your grandchild adopts him or her, your visitation rights may change.

Establishing the right to visit your grandchildren may be a complex process even without an event such as an adoption. It is often best to start by talking to the child's parents and/or primary caregivers and asking them to allow you to visit. If this does not work, you may want to petition a court for visitation rights. According to the law, the court may grant you visitation rights if it determines that action is in the child's best interest. When deciding on visitation rights, a court may consider whether you have made attempts to have contact with your grandchild.

This information on grandparents' visitation rights is intended for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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Robert Schembs
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