Can Grandparents Sue for Visitation After a Divorce?


Grandparents' rights are a relatively new issue as far as divorce laws in Pasadena are concerned.

Grandparent visitation laws are tricky because the court must balance the rights of the grandparent with the best interests of the child and the rights of the child's parents to exercise their parental authority in determining if visitation is appropriate.

Grandparents can legally petition for visitation if one of the following circumstances apply:

  • The grandparents are the parents of a child's deceased parent.
  • The parents are divorced or currently living separately on a permanent or indefinite basis.
  • One parent has been absent for over a month and the other parent does not know that parent’s current location.
  • The child does not reside with either parent.

For the courts to intervene in favor of grandparent visitation, there must be a current beneficial relationship between the child and his grandparent. For example, a child who is accustomed to visiting grandma weekly for movie nights and cookie baking has a preexisting relationship that is very different from a child who only sees his grandmother once per year.

If the child is adopted by a stepparent, the biological parent no longer has any responsibilities as far as child support goes. However, it is still possible for the child's natural grandparents to seek visitation.

If the child is old enough to make an informed decision, his wishes will be taken into consideration when determining if visitation is appropriate.

If the court grants visitation rights to the grandparents, it can be problematic if the child does not want to comply with the visitation. The courts can fine the custodial parent if he or she is blocking visitation attempts, but there is no real legal remedy if the child simply does not wish to visit.

How Can We Help?

Please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at if you have questions about grandparent visitation rights in the state of California. Our family law attorneys in Pasadena are eager to provide the assistance you need.