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Your grandchild may be the subject of a child custody dispute in their parents’ divorce. But amid these proceedings, you may be wondering where your place is in all of this. That is, you may be unsure how your relationship will be affected with your grandchild at the finalization of a child custody order. Continue reading to learn whether grandparents have visitation rights and how an experienced Bergen County child custody attorney at McNerney & McAuliffe can fight on your behalf.

Do grandparents have visitation rights in the state of New Jersey?

The short answer is, yes, grandparents may be granted visitation rights in the state of New Jersey. Further, a grandparent must formally petition for visitation rights in the county court where their grandchild resides or in the county court finalizing the child custody and visitation orders.

According to New Jersey’s Grandparents and Sibling Visitation Statute, a grandparent’s petition must prove that granting visitation will be in the best interest of the grandchild, along with the fact that the grandchild will be harmed if visitation is not granted.

That said, in your petition, you may have to establish any or all of the following factors as true:

  • You may establish that your grandchild has lived with you for more than six months at a time.
  • You may establish that your grandchild regularly visits you when they are not living with you.
  • You may establish that you financially support your grandchild.
  • You may establish that you are physically and mentally fit to support your grandchild.
  • You may establish that you have an amicable relationship with both your grandchild’s parents.

What should I do if I am denied my visitation rights?

Unfortunately, there have been circumstances in which parents go back to court and request that a grandparent’s visitation rights be revoked. If this is your case, then it may be worth offering the option of mediation with your grandchild’s parents. This may just be the best chance at reaching an amicable resolution that every party is content with, and more importantly, that lends to the best interest of your grandchild.

But if this visitation issue is highly contested, then you may have to go back to a litigation setting. When you return to court, you may even be able to make the argument that your grandchild is at risk under their parents’ care. And if yours is a rare situation, the court may find both parents to be unfit and turn over custody rights to you.

The first step you must take in your case is to make a phone call. Without further ado, pick up the phone and contact a skilled Bergen County child custody attorney from McNerney & McAuliffe today.

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