Determining child custody arrangements between parents in New Jersey is never easy. Whether never married or getting divorced, parents and children can struggle with changes in the amount of time they can spend together. Other family members can sometimes also be caught in this struggle. Grandparents, for example, who want to continue their relationship with children may need to seek their own visitation schedule. This can happen when biological parents have died or when they forbid contact with the children for some other reason.
In the past year, New Jersey and several other states initiated legislation to provide the legal ability for grandparents to do this. According to the Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, SB1205 would allow for grandparents’ rights of visitation even in some situations where the parents or other guardians are opposed to such visitation.
The New Jersey State Legislature website notes that grandparents are not automatically given visitation rights with their grandchildren but must petition for such time. The onus is on the petitioning grandparent to show any visitation is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider many factors including how such contact between the child and the grandparent may impact the relationship the child has with the parent or other primary caregiver.
Courts will also take into consideration the relationship between a grandparent and grandchild up to the point at which the formal request for visitation occurs. Visitation time or other child custody orders with parents or other guardians may also impact the court’s decision.