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Freehold NJ Family Law Attorneys Fight for Grandparents’ Rights

Grandparents may be entitled to visitation and custody in certain situations in NJ

The grandparent-grandchild relationship is a special one. In many families, grandparents enjoy extremely close relationships with their grandchildren—watching the children while their parents work, taking them on vacations, and enjoying holidays together. In these situations, what happens if a grandparent is suddenly cut off from the grandchildren? What rights do grandparents have under New Jersey law? At Lomurro Munson LLC, our family law attorneys have filed petitions on behalf of numerous grandparents that want to maintain the special bond they have with their grandchildren.

When are grandparents able to file a petition for visitation in NJ?

In 2000, the United States Supreme Court handed down a decision in Troxel v. Granville, a case that focused on grandparent visitation. The court held that a visitation order that allowed grandparent visitation infringed upon the mother’s fundamental right to direct the upbringing of her children. The court noted that, where a parent was clearly fit, there was no reason to undermine the parent’s decision to forbid grandparent visitation.

However, in New Jersey, there is a grandparent visitation statute that allows a grandparent to file a petition for visitation in certain situations.   The statute provides that courts will examine:

  • The grandparent-grandchild relationship;
  • The relationship between the child’s parents or guardians and the grandparent;
  • How long it has been since the child and the grandparent last communicated;
  • The effect visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents or guardians;
  • The current timesharing arrangement between the parents if the parents are divorced;
  • Whether the grandparent filed the petition in good faith;
  • Whether the grandparent has a history of abuse; and
  • Any other factor that is relevant to the best interests of the child.

The court will study each of these factors carefully before rendering a decision on grandparent visitation. The grandparent-seeking visitation must show, by a preponderance of the evidence, that denying visitation will harm the child. To show something by the preponderance of the evidence, a claimant must show that more than half of the evidence supports the claim. If this element is proven, next, the parent will propose a visitation schedule. If the grandparent disagrees with the proposed schedule, the court will analyze the schedule based upon the factors listed above and determine if the schedule will be in the child’s best interests.

The court will make a final determination as to whether the child should be required to have visitation with the grandparent. The closer a relationship a grandparent has with the child, the more likely it is that the court will award visitation.

If you are seeking visitation with your grandchildren in NJ call our Freehold lawyers today

At Lomurro Munson LLC, we have represented many grandparents who have sought visitation with their grandchildren. We know how to meet the burden of proof that the family courts require. To schedule a consultation, call 732-482-9285 or contact us online.