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What requirements must be met to award grandparent visitation?

When children are involved in a divorce, parents in New Mexico often focus on the needs of their children and developing a fair and workable custody arrangement. Divorcing parents often forget that the process might impact other family members. Grandparents often get lost in the shuffle, and in some situations, they could feel isolated and cut off from their grandchildren while their child and their child's ex-spouse work through dissolution. However, if grandparents feel that they no longer have access to their grandchildren, they could pursue visitation or even custody.

What are the requirements for awarding grandparent visitation of grandchildren? In most cases, in order to initiate the process to seek visitation, grandparents must first be denied visitation of their grandchildren. Once a grandparent is denied visitation, he or she could seek visitation rights. However, in order to be granted these rights, the court must evaluate certain factors to determine if awarding visitation is appropriate.

The most important factor that must be proved, which is required in all states, is the best interests of the child. In these matters, courts will likely consider factors such as the prior relationship between the grandchild and grandparent, the effect grandparent visitation will have on the parent-child relationship and whether there is any harm that could occur to the grandchild if grandparent visitation is not awarded.

When grandparents' rights issues are present during or after divorce, parents and grandparents should understand how to address these problems. Seeking assistance could help all parties involved resolve the matter the best way possible, so the needs and interests of the children involved are not harmed.

Source: FindLaw, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed Jan. 4, 2016

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