How to File for Grandparent Visitation Rights in California


Pasadena family law attorneys report that grandparent visitation requests are becoming more common. When determining if grandparent visitation should be ordered, the court must balance the best interests of the child with the right of the parents to make decisions about how the child will be raised. If the grandparent has a pre-existing relationship with the child, the court will be more likely to rule in favor of allowing visitation to continue on a reasonable basis.

In most cases, grandparents can not file for visitation while the child’s parents are married. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule. For example, visitation may be possible if the parents are living separately, the child does not live with either parent, one parent’s whereabouts are unknown, or the child has been adopted by a stepparent.

If there is already an open California family court case involving the child and his or her parents, such as a divorce filing, paternity case, child support case, or domestic violence restraining order, the grandparent can ask for visitation under the existing case. If there is no current case open, the grandparent seeking visitation will need to start a new family court case for this purpose. There are no official court forms designated for grandparents requesting visitation with their grandchildren, so hiring a private attorney to represent your interests is recommended.

Once your papers have been filed, you’ll receive a court date or mediation date. You must have someone who is at least eighteen years of age serve your papers to the parents and file proof of service with the court. If you were ordered to go to mediation, you will work with the mediator and the child’s parents to work out an acceptable visitation agreement. If your case goes to court, the judge will make the final decision.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of legal representation relating to a grandparent visitation request, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena family law firm is eager to assist you in helping to preserve your relationship with your grandchildren.