Grandparent Visitation Rights In San Diego Superior Court Regarding Your Child’s Divorce, Paternity Or Legal Separation Custody Order: 2014

WHAT IS THE PROCEDURE FOR GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS FOR THEIR SON OR DAUGHTER’S CHILDREN IN SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT?

Whether your child was married or not married, a petition can be filed in San Diego Superior Court by a grandparent of a minor child for grandparent visitation. The court may grant reasonable visitation rights to the grandparent if the court finds both of the following:

1. That there is a preexisting relationship between the grandchild and grandparent that has engendered a bond that visitation is in the best interest of the child. The best interests test and other related information about this issue can be found in California Family Law Codes 3011, 3020 and 3040 and,

2. Balances the interest of the child in having visitation with the grandparent versus the rights of the parents to exercise parental authority.

It needs to be stated, at the outset, that United States and California Supreme Court cases have greatly limited the rights of grandparents and have held that the rights of parents outweigh the rights of grandparents. There are other factual situations in which grandparent visitation can be granted and this includes the death of their child for example.

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS AND LEGAL STANDARD FOR A SAN DIEGO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE TO ORDER GRANDPARENT VISITATION?

A petition needs to be filed and served. The grandparent[s] {petitioners} shall give notice of the petition to each of the parents of the child, and include any stepparent, as well as any person who has physical custody of the child. This must be accomplished by personal service pursuant to Section 415.10 of the Code of Civil Procedure and the rules for this are very strict. As listed above, there is a rebuttable presumption that the visitation of a grandparent is not in the best interest of a minor child if the adoptive or natural parents object. This means that there is a legal “hurdle” which a grandparent needs to overcome before a Judge will grant over the objections of either or both of the parents. Further, the rebuttable presumption affecting the burden of proof is that visitation of a grandparent is not in the best interest of a minor child if either or both of the parents who have been awarded sole legal and physical custody of the child in another proceeding, or the parent with whom the child resides if there is currently no operative custody order objects. This means that the grandparents must meet their legal burden to rebut the presumption.

WHAT ARE THE LEGAL DUTIES WHEN VISITATION IS GRANTED FOR GRANDPARENTS?

If a court grants grandparent visitation, there may also be legal obligations for the grandparents. The court may, based upon each case, order the below as additional court orders in addition to the visitation order:

  • Court order to allocate the grandparent visitation on a percentage basis between the parties for calculation of child support pursuant to the disso master or other California state approved child support calculator
  • Order a grandparent or parent to pay to the other, support of the child or grandchild. Support, for purposes of orders, means costs related to visitation:
  • Transportation.
  • Provision of basic expenses for the grandchild or child including, but not limited to, day care costs, medical expenses, and other necessities of life.
HOW CAN A SAN DIEGO LAW FIRM HELP?

Doppelt & Forney, a Professional Law Corporation has experience in grandparent visitation. These are very complicated cases and emotions run very high with grandparents about the best interests of their grandchildren. It is very important to have a legal analysis of the facts in your case before filing a motion. Feel free to contact their law office for a confidential and complimentary consultation.

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