Many grandparents have a positive influence in the development of children, particularly when the children are not living with immediate family members. In situations like this, grandparents in New Jersey can request the right to visitation with their grandchildren, similar to how divorcing parents can ask for visitation rights with their children.
In child custody cases, courts often grant visitation rights to noncustodial parents, especially when the parents and children have good relationships. The Grandparents' Visitation Statute in New Jersey allows grandparents of children who live in the state to apply for visitation rights. They must demonstrate that their relationship is in the best interests of their grandchildren.
There are several factors that courts consider when deciding whether or not to award grandparent visitation. The relationship that the grandparents have with the children and with the parents or guardians are two major factors. Courts even review how giving the grandparents visitation rights will affect the children and the parents or guardians with whom they live.
Courts take into account how much time has passed since the grandparents and children were last in contact as well. Other factors include the good faith of the grandparents, any time-sharing agreement between the parents and whether the grandparents have a history of neglect or abuse of any kind. If any other elements relevant to the children's best interests arise, courts also review them.
In some cases, the reason grandparents seek visitation is because their relationship with the children's parents is hostile. One way for the two parties to see the positive impact of a grandparent-grandchild relationship is for them to seek mediation. Even when the parties get along and resolve their visitation issues, however, family law attorneys will remind their clients that the best interests of the children are what matter the most.