Parents receiving sole visitation rights is a generally understood outcome in divorce cases. Many people overlook the potential rights of extended family members, though. If a family court deems it beneficial for the children that their grandparents have visitation rights, those rights often are affirmed. That is why Indiana family law enables grandparents to petition for visitation rights in certain circumstances.
Conditions for grandparent visitation rights
There are only three situations under which one or more grandparents can petition the court for visitation rights. The first circumstance is when one of the child’s parent dies, and the grandparents no longer have a direct parental link to one or more children who are their blood relatives. The second situation when grandparents may petition for visitation rights is when their grandchildren’s parents divorce. Grandparents also can petition for visitation rights when a child is born outside of marriage, and they can establish their paternal link to the child.
Establishing a paternal link and the child’s best interests
To establish a paternal link, the grandparents must show that they are directly related to the child on his or her father’s side. When the grandparents can demonstrate that they are the child’s father’s parents, the paternal link is established. When those paternal grandparents also try to establish and maintain a meaningful relationship with the child, the court generally leans toward visitation being beneficial.
Fit parents have plenty of influence
The actual parents still have more say over potential visitation rights. When a parent demonstrates a reasonable amount of care and common sense in raising a child, the court often will defer to that person’s judgment regarding visitation rights for the child’s grandparents. If the parents allowed the grandparents to have visitation rights during their marriage and when the family unit was whole, divorce or death of a parent often means that grandparents stand a good chance of winning and maintaining visitation rights.
Whenever grandparents seek visitation rights, an experienced Indiana family law attorney can help to establish paternity and affirm the benefit to the child or children in question.