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When something happens to a minor child’s nuclear family such as divorce or death of a parent, the custody or visitation of the minor child can become an issue. There has been a legal precedent of granting custody of minor children to the immediate family members.
Courts will always try to grant custody to the other parent if one parent dies or does not want to have custody of the minor children. Parents have an automatic first right to raise their children without interference from grandparents if the parents are declared fit parents.
The assumption is that a fit parent will always act in the best interests of the children.
If grandparents push for visitation rights with their grandchildren and the parent with custody objects, grandparents must show the court that it would be in the best interests of the grandchildren to have physical contact with the grandparents. The California courts must also see that it would be harmful to the grandchildren’s mental health if they were deprived of physical contact with their grandparents. Courts also consider whether there was a pre-existing relationship with the grandchildren before awarding visitation rights to grandparents in California.
When a grandparent in California wants custody of the grandchildren, the conditions to meet are similar to visitation: In the case that it would not be in the best interests of the minor children or it would be harmful to the grandchildren to remain in custody of the parent.
Usually harmful conditions would be things like abuse of the children or drug usage of the parents. Granting custody to someone other than a parent usually happens when a parent dies, is declared unfit by a California court, or does not want custody of the minor children.
In San Jose California, deciding on whether to pursue grandparent rights can be a difficult decision and process, it would be best to seek the advice of a skilled San Jose family law attorney.
Madan Ahluwalia is a California attorney who practices law in San Jose, CA. His website is www.attorneyonradio.com. He can be reached at (408) 416-3149.