Parents’ separation or divorce can be difficult for everyone involved. Often times, the emotional toll that separation takes on a family extends beyond just the child and the parents, though, affecting grandparents too. In fact, in some cases, child custody battles are so contentious that grandparents are denied the right to spend time with their grandchild. If you are a grandparent who has questions about grandparents’ visitation rights and the law in Massachusetts, our Boston family law attorney can help.
Grandparents’ Rights to Visitation in Massachusetts
Unfortunately, grandparents do not always have the right to visitation with their grandchildren; instead, this right is only granted via a court order. Of course, parents and grandparents can come to an arrangement about visitation without going to court, but if visitation is disputed, a court order is a must. A grandparent has a right to ask the court for visitations with their grandchild if:
- Parents are divorced;
- Parents are married but living apart;
- If either parent is deceased; or
- If the child was born out of wedlock and paternity was adjudicated by the court and the parents are living apart.
Will a Court Always Grant Grandparent Visitation?
While a grandparent may have the right to petition the court for visitation based on the above factors, the court will not grant visitation unless:
- Doing so is within the best interests of the child; and
- The child and the grandparent maintained a close relationship before the grandparent visitation case was opened; and
- If visitation were not granted, the child would suffer harm to their health, safety, or overall welfare.
How to File a Petition for Grandparent Visitation
The petition for grandparent visitation is accessible online. Not only do you need to fill out the form accurately and in full, but you must also include an affidavit that describes the relationship that you maintain with your grandchild and the reason why visitation/contact with your grandchild has been terminated. It is important that this statement be both truthful and compelling; working with an experienced grandparents’ rights lawyer who knows what the court is looking for is recommended.
After you have filed your petition, it must be served to all respondents. While most cases can be resolved out of court, you may need to go before a judge to resolve your grandparent visitation case.
Our Boston Grandparents’ Rights Lawyer Is Here for You
At the Law Office of Heather M. Ward, our grandparents’ visitation attorney is here to assist you. We know how heartbreaking losing the right to visit with your grandchild can be – we want to make sure that you are able to maintain a relationship with your grandchild.
To learn more about how Boston family law attorney Heather M. Ward can help you, please send us a message today or call our law office directly. You can reach us at (617) 903-8955.