Grandparents Rights During a Virginia Divorce (Part B)If you're a Virginia grandparent with questions about grandparent rights, you should first learn the basics about how Virginia law handles grandparents and child visitation issues.
How Grandparents Rights Work in Virginia
There is no statute in Virginia law that specifically deals with grandparents rights; grandparents are simply included in the group of "persons of legitimate interest" who are eligible to petition for child visitation and child custody.
A person of legitimate interest is someone who has an ongoing relationship and familial bond with the child. A grandparent can join in a petition for visitation with the child's non-custodial parent or they may petition for child visitation independently.
A Virginia court takes many factors into consideration when determining grandparent visitation, including:
- age of the child;
- needs of the child;
- mental and physical health of the grandparent (s); and
- the history of the child's relationship to the grandparent (s).
Virginia law states that a court needs to give "due regard to the primacy of the parent-child relationship." This means that the parent-child relationship comes first, and when determining grandparent visitation, the needs, schedules and rights of the parents are put first.
Virginia courts do not normally override the wishes of a parent when it comes to grandparent visitation. To gain child visitation rights in these situations, grandparents have to prove that the child will suffer in some way from lack of visitation with them.
The best interests of the child are front and center in Virginia child custody and grandparent visitation cases. Virginia courts assess all the details and base decisions on what would be best for the child's overall well-being. In cases where grandparents are eligible to petition for child custody, a Virginia court will determine the grandparents' parental fitness on the same criteria as they would any potential guardian.
In some instances, you may need to secure the services of a Virginia Beach child custody attorney to help prove your ability to care for the grandchild, whether in visitation or in full custody circumstances. A Virginia Beach child custody attorney can help protect your grandparent rights while working toward the child's best interests.
When to Hire a Virginia Beach Child Custody Attorney
At this vulnerable time, it's critical that you have exceptional legal representation that not only understands the specifics of your case, but is dedicated to your best interests and that of your family.
At Hofheimer Family Law Firm, we understand that the health and happiness of your family is your #1 concern. We will work with you to address any fears and anxieties you may have about retaining a valuable relationship with your grandchildren after a Virginia divorce. Contact us today to set up a consultation - 757-425-5200.