The relationship between a grandchild and grandparent can be very special, but when the child’s parents divorce or die, tension can arise between the grandparents and surviving parent or other decision maker. In that case, an NJ senior may want to seek visitation rights to preserve a relationship with a grandchild. While New Jersey law provides for grandparent visitation, obtaining such rights is not so simple.
Visitation rights can only be granted in a court order. However, because competent parents have a due process right to decide how to raise their child, a grandparent who applies for visitation can be seen as meddling. Thus seniors must tread lightly when seeking grandchild visitation rights. A senior seeking grandparent visitation should be prepared to convince a judge that the child could be harmed if the grandparent doesn’t visit but court mandated visitation will not impair the relationship between parent and child. A delicate balance should be the order of the day.
The New Jersey Supreme Court is currently considering the issues inherent when a New Jersey senior seeks grandparent visitation rights and should rule this term.