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What requirements are needed to award grandparents' rights?

Divorce can often bring the worst out of someone. But for others, it can bring out their strengths. For the grandparents of divorcing parents, it can cause many emotions to stir up when the complexities of the process also impact them. While most grandparents do not seek to strip their child of their parental rights, there are some situations that might cause individuals in New Mexico and elsewhere to invoke their grandparents' rights.

What requirements are needed to award grandparents' rights? For the past four decades, grandparents' rights have been recognized in all states across the nation. While these rights are not as common as parental rights, they are vital and important for those grandparents who seek to maintain their visitation rights during a messy divorce or to obtain custody of their grandchildren in order to meet the children's best interests.

If a grandparent has been denied visitation due to the complexities of dissolution, a court may grant the grandparent or grandparents visitation if certain requirements are met. The most important requirement to meet is that it must be in the best interests of the grandchild. Additionally, a court might require that a prior relationship between a grandparent and grandchild be established.

Before a court awards custody to a grandparent, the court is required to look at the relationship between a child and one or both of their parents. Grandparents must generally prove that a parent or both parents are unfit; evidencing that awarding custody to the grandparent or grandparents is in the best interests of the child or children.

Obtaining visitation or custody rights can be challenging for grandparents; therefore, it is essential for those seeking these rights to fully understand the options available to them. Doing so will not only protect the rights of grandparents but will also ensure that the rights and best interests of the children involved are protected as well.

Source: Findlaw, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed Nov. 27, 2016

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