Do Grandparents or Step-grandparents Have Visitation Rights in Virginia?
The presence of grandparents in the family unit typically adds to the quality of a well-rounded family and community. Grandparents can be essential in creating a nurturing and caring environment for their grandchildren. Grandchildren need their grandparents, but it should be understood that under typical circumstances, the desires of a grandparent, for a grandchild, are secondary to wishes of the parent or primary custodian. However, this is not to say that grandparents are not without rights or consideration by the State of Virginia when it comes to the visitation of their grandchild. If you or someone you know is a grandparent struggling with issues of child visitation, contact the family lawyers at our office today to explore your rights.
Grandparents Have A Legitimate Interest In A Child’s Life
There is no specific state law in Virginia that dictates the explicit rights of grandparents to visit their grandchildren. However, the Supreme Court of the United States and Virginia law recognize that in addition to the parents, there are other individuals who may have a legitimate interest in a child’s life such as other grandparents or step-grandparents. In the historic case of Troxel v. Granville, the Supreme Court concluded that although special weight must be given to the desires of the parents, grandparent visitation may still be granted even when both parents opposed such visitation. Therefore the Supreme Court and the State of Virginia recognize the importance of maintaining and issuing grandparent visitation for children despite the child’s parents attempts to obstruct such visitation.
Grandparent Visitation Is Determined By The Best Interest Of The Child
A Virginia court will consider what is in the best interest of a child when determining whether to award a grandparent or step-grandparent visitation for their grandchild. The best interest of the child includes a variety of factors to be considered when evaluating if visitation is proper under the circumstances. Factors will include the age, physical and mental condition of the child and the parents, and the parental-child relationship and the needs of the child and their relationships with other family members. Other factors include the propensity of the parents to support the child’s relationship with others, the preference of the child, history of abuse or neglect and any other factors the court deems relevant.
Reach Out to Us for Assistance
A grandparent-grandchild relationship is a special and unique bond. If you are a grandparent or step-grandparent seeking visitation with your grandchild and the parent is obstructing such visitation, contact the family lawyers at the office of Shannon & Bedois, P.C. at (757) 228-5529 to assist you with this delicate process.