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Seven Facts About New Jersey Grandparent Visitation Rights

New Jersey law permits grandparents to seek visitation with their grandchildren in certain circumstances. There is a set of seven facts and factors that come into play when grandparent visitation is being considered. These are:

  • More required that satisfaction of the best interests of a child standard when grandparent visitation is at issue
  • Factors court considers when contemplating a request for grandparent visitation
  • Grandparent can seek visitation in New Jersey over objection of parents
  • Situations in which grandparent visitation when child not in parents’ custody
  • Mediation and grandparent visitation
  • Motion and hearing on grandparent visitation
  • Revocation of grandparent visitation
Limitations of Best Interests of a Child Standard and New Jersey Grandparent Visitation Rights

While the best interests of a child standard does play a role in determining whether grandparent visitation will be ordered in a particular situation, New Jersey law actually requires a bit more in this regard. When grandparent visitation is sought, a demonstration must be made to the court that denying grandparent visitation would be detrimental to the wellbeing of a child.

Factors when Considering New Jersey Grandparent Visitation Rights

In applying the best interests of a child standard in a situation involving visitation rights for grandparents, a New Jersey court is to consider eight factors. These are:

  • Existing relationship between a child and grandparent
  • Existing relationship between a grandparent seeking visitation and a child’s parents or guardians
  • Elapsed time child last had contact with grandparent seeking visitation
  • Impact grandparent visitation will have on child’s parents or guardians
  • If parents are divorced, impact grandparent visitation will have on the existing parenting plan adopted or ordered by the court
  • Is a grandparent acting in good faith when seeking court-ordered visitation?
  • Does any history exist of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated by grandparent?
  • Any other factors relevant to ascertaining what is in the best interests of a child
Grandparent can Seek Visitation Over Objection of Parents

One of the prevailing scenarios in which a grandparent might pursue visitation with a grandchild involves a situation in which that person has a less than stellar relationship with the minor’s parent or parents. In other words, a grandparent seeks visitation over the objection of a parent or parents.

The grandparent can file a motion with the appropriate court in New Jersey. An objecting parent is legally permitted to file a response to that motion.

A court ultimately schedules a hearing. During the hearing, the grandparent is put in a position of having to present evidence that not allowing visitation with the grandchild would be to the detriment of that minor.

In assessing the grandparent’s moves to obtain visitation with a grandchild, the court will consider objections of a parent or parents and why they are being made. Ultimately, a court utilizes the eight factors enumerated a moment ago in analyzing the impact allowing or disallowing visitation will have on the child.

Grandparent Visitation when Child is not in Parents’ Custody

Another common scenario involving a grandparent seeking visitation with a grandchild is one in which the minor is not in the custody of either parent. In many such situations, grandparents end up being the custodian of a child. However, if that is not the situation in a particular case, a grandparent can seek visitation with a grandchild in the custody of a non-parent via an order of the court.

The same standard applies in this situation. A grandparent must show that now permitting this type of visitation would be detrimental to the child.

Mediation and Grandparent Visitation

With increasing frequency, courts in New Jersey are encouraging interested parties in a grandparent visitation matter to engage in mediation. Oftentimes, mediation involves a grandparent (or grandparents) and the parent (or parents) of the child (grandchild) in question.

If mediation is successful, the mediator prepares an agreement between the interested parties. In turn, that agreement is presented to the court and can form the basis for a grandparent visitation order.

Revocation of Grandparent Visitation

Finally, when an individual successfully exercised grandparent visitation rights, the time may come when a parent thinks an order for this type of visitation should be revoked. As is the case with establishing grandparent visitation, a motion is filed with the court and hearing is conducted.

If you desire to establish grandparent visitation or have questions about your visitation rights as a grandparent, the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen is here to assist you. You can reach us by calling our firm at (201) 845-7400 to schedule a free initial consultation with our legal team.

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