Haddon Heights Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

New Jersey lawyer advocates for those seeking visitation with their grandchildren

For most young people, grandparents offer unconditional love and support. Unfortunately, divorces and other family issues sometimes drive a wedge between grandparents and their grandchildren. New Jersey law does give grandparents and other family members the opportunity to establish visitation rights. The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone is a family law firm that handles all types of grandparent visitation matters for clients in Camden and Burlington counties. If you are considering petitioning for an order mandating that you be able to have time with your grandchildren, I can help.

What are grandparents’ rights in NJ?

As a grandparent, you may file a petition in Superior Court requesting reasonable visitation time with your grandchild. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that your grandson or granddaughter will suffer harm if you are prevented from spending time with them. These types of cases often arise when a child lives with just one parent due to divorce or death and grandparents from the other side of the child’s family are excluded.

Factors courts use when grandparents seek visitation

As with all child custody-related matters, a judge decides on grandparent visitation matters based on what he or she thinks is in the best interests of the child. Factors that frequently are used in these determinations include:

  • The nature of the existing grandparent-grandchild relationship
  • Instances of physical or sexual abuse committed by the child’s grandparents or parents
  • Whether the child’s parents live together or not
  • How lack of contact with their grandparents affects the child
  • The effect of grandparent visitation on the current parenting time plan

There may be other important considerations in your grandparent visitation case. Whether you are pursuing an order that gives you access to your grandchildren or are opposing a visitation request, I have the knowledge and experience to assess your chances of achieving a favorable result.

Why grandparents might not get visitation

Legally, parents have the right in most cases to decide who will spend time with their minor children. Grandparents might be denied court-ordered visitation if the child’s parents have a valid objection to the arrangement. When possible and appropriate, I try to find ways for adults to put aside conflicts that might exist between them so that young people can benefit from interactions with loved ones from multiple generations.

Can a grandparent become a guardian?

When parents of a minor are not capable of fulfilling their responsibilities properly, courts can appoint an adult as the youth’s kinship legal guardian. Often, grandparents are in the best position to serve in this role due to their existing relationship with the child. Parental rights are not terminated by the appointment of a guardian, so moving a child in with a grandparent as opposed to a foster home can make maintaining the parent-child relationship easier. Kinship legal guardians are given legal and physical custody over the child, but first must be approved by the Department of Children and Families. The review process includes a home inspection and a background check of all family members.

Contact a dedicated New Jersey grandparents rights attorney to discuss your issue   

The Law Offices of Kelli M. Martone in Haddon Heights handles concerns relating to grandparents’ rights for clients in Camden and Burlington counties. Please call 856-432-4587 or contact me online to set up a meeting regarding your case.