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In California, grandparents can have rights to visitiation

Without a doubt, grandparents and grandchildren form close bonds. But things can happen both within and outside of the family that can strain those bonds.

Fortunately, California is a state with one of the more liberal sets of grandparents' rights. Exercising these rights can help foster the ties between you and your grandchildren in certain cases.

Typically, however, if both of the child's parents remain married to one another and living together, you will not be able to take any actions regarding your relationship with your grandchildren.

In 2007, California amended its laws to include a provision noting that grandparents retain their rights when stepparents adopt their grandchildren. This was reaffirmed on appeal after a 2014 challenge, Finberg v. Manset, found for the parents. In the appeal, the court determined that kids who've undergone much family dysfunction might need their continuing relationships with their grandparents to provided them with stability.

That case was a big win for California grandparents who get edged out after a stepparent enters the picture when their own child is no longer alive or able to parent the kids. But it is not a given that your relationship will continue. You will have to take the other parent to court and present a solid case to the court as to why you feel that it is in the children's best interests to continue their relationship with you.

All the court's decisions are made on that basis, so you should begin gathering evidence to support your allegations as soon as you can. Your California family law attorney can help you in this pursuit.

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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