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Protecting the visitation privileges of grandparents

As a previous post discussed, divorce can impact more than just the spouses and children involved. The parents of the spouses could be negatively impacted due to the divorce process limiting people's access to their grandchildren. Moreover, grandparents could face adverse outcomes if a spouse seeks to retaliate against the person's former spouse by denying the former spouse's parents access or time with grandchildren. Because certain grandparents' rights are afforded to grandparents in New Mexico and elsewhere, it is important to understand how to invoke these rights and how they enforce any rights provided by the court.

According to New Mexico Statute Chapter 40 Article 9 Section 3, the visitation privileges of a grandparent can be modified, enforced and restricted. This Statute states that when visitation privileges are granted to a grandparent by a district court, the court may also issue any necessary order to ensure these orders are followed. In other words, these additional orders help enforce the visitation privileges provided by a previous court order.

Additionally, the court may issue an order modifying the visitation privileges granted to the grandparent or grandparent. Any interested party or person may issue this order if there is a showing of good cause. If one cannot show good cause, then no grandparent or parent may file a petition regarding the visitation rights of a grandparent more than once a year.

If an action to enforce an order allowing for visitation privileges for a grandparent is brought by a grandparent or grandparents, then the court may award any court costs and any reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party when it is determined that a court order is violated.

Whether people are seeking to file an action to gain visitation rights, modify a current order or file an action to enforce visitation privileges, it is important that grandparents understand the rights afforded to them. This not only better protects their rights but also serves to protect the best interests of any children involved.

Source: Law.justia.com, "New Mexico Statutes, Chapter 40: Domestic Affairs Article 9: Grandparent's Visitation Privileges, Section 40-9-3: Visitation; modification; restrictions," accessed Aug. 21, 2016

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