Coronavirus is not the only concern that can limit grandparents access to the their grandchildren. Parents have the right to make the call and it can be especially challenging for grandparents during the holiday season. However, those individuals in New Jersey who are grandparents and believe that having time with their grandchildren would benefit the children may be able to seek visitation orders by filing the appropriate motion in a family law court.
New Jersey and every other state have enacted grandparent visitation statutes. These laws allow grandparents to petition the court in order to gain some level of access to their grandchildren. This does not mean that all petitions will automatically be granted, however.
Parents do have the right to decide who will be in their children’s lives. That is a right that the court is not trying to remove from them. But, when an outside influence is believed to be in the best interest of the child, the court may override this parental choice. To make this determination, the court will look at:
- The grandparent/grandchild relationship
- The grandparent/parent relationship
- Current access the petitioner has with the child
- Current custody arrangement — if applicable
- Petitioner history of abuse
Determining what serves the best interests of a child is not always easy. Sometimes, parents and grandparents are too close to the situation, and a third party is needed for an unbiased take on the matter — which is where the court comes into play. Those in New Jersey who wish to fight for grandparent visitation rights may do so with the assistance of a family law attorney. Though it is not likely to be an easy fight, with help, it may be possible to get the visitation time one desires.