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Grandparents request visitation rights when stepparents adopt

Divorce often leads to many changes, and the post-divorce life for the spouses and their children can be very different from the life they knew during the marriage. Additionally, extended family members such as grandparents can be significantly impacted by the divorce. In some situations, a divorced parent might decide to get remarried, and have his or her new spouse adopt their child or children as a stepparent. In that process, the other biological parent relinquishes his or her parental obligations for the adoption to occur; however, this does not always end the grandparents' rights through that parent.

Under New Mexico law, when a stepparent is adopting a child, he or she assumes the natural parental obligations of the parent relinquishing his or her parental rights. The biological grandparents of the child through the parent relinquishing their rights may petition for visitation rights during the pendency of an adoption proceeding.

The petition will be filed as part of the adoption by stepparent process, and the court will consider the visitation rights of a grandparent based on the best interests of the grandchild. This is often based on criteria such as the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild before the adoption proceeding and any visitation arrangement already in place prior to the petition.

Invoking grandparents' rights can be an emotional and sometimes difficult time and process because a grandparent could lose some time with his or her grandchild. No matter the issue, grandparents should be aware of when these rights apply and how to invoke them. Divorce can bring many issues during and after the process, and grandparents should be aware of what options they can take to make an informed decision regarding their situation.

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