Grandparents have the legal right to file for visitation rights, as do other close friends or relatives in the child’s life. These types of people are called persons with a legitimate interest, which is a special status under the law. However, in as much as the court’s main interest in these cases is the well-being and best interests of the child(ren), the parents are given priority.
If you are a grandparent seeking visitation and both parents object, only one parent is living, or one parent objects and the other parent does not give an opinion; you must first prove that the child will suffer “actual harm” before the courts will even apply the factors to determine if the visitation is in the child’s best interest.
Custody and visitation disputes can become very stressful and often the courts’ decisions might seem unfair, but in every case, the main questions ultimately revolve around the best interest of the child. However, if you are a “person with a legitimate interest,” like a grandparent, you may have a higher burden than just proving this standard. For this reason, it is very important to hire an attorney that is well versed in Virginia law and has the necessary experience with these types of cases to ensure the right evidence is presented, and arguments made, to maximize your chances of prevailing.
The relationship between your children and their grandparents is a sacred one. Our family law attorney can help you navigate this difficult process!
If you or a loved one needs assistance in establishing a safe environment for your family, schedule a consultation with our experienced family law attorney today. Call 888-691-9319, or fill out this short form to get started.