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Requirements needed to award grandparent visitation and custody

When a divorce involves children, it is common for divorcing parents in New Mexico to disagree of potential custody arrangements. Having his or her time with his or her child constrained, defined and outlined is a major event; an event that is often difficult to come to terms with. The complexities of a custody matter can unfortunately impact those beyond the parents and children involved.

The lives of the grandparents of the children are sometimes turned upside-down. The emotions involved in divorce process can unfortunately be taken out on the parents of their former spouse. When this occurs, grandparents do not have to simply stand there and deal with their rights being stripped from them. On the other hand, grandparents could invoke their rights and secure a court order that could protect their visitation rights.

Grandparents could initiate a claim to invoke their grandparents' rights; however, there are requirements needed to award visitation and even custody rights. In cases where a grandparent has been denied visitation of their grandchildren due to the event of a divorce, a court will evaluate certain factors before awarding visitation rights. This typically includes the prior relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, the effects a visitation agreement will have on the relationship between the child and parent and what harms would occur to the grandchild if visitation were not awarded.

Matters of custody can become more complex and often initiate for a wide variety of reasons; however, courts will always consider the relationship between the child and his or her parents before awarding custody to a grandparent. In cases where both parents are alive, grandparents must generally prove that one or both parents are unfit. It should be noted, however, that even in matters where the relationship between a grandparent and grandchild are strong, it could be difficult to attain grandparent custody if it is against the wishes of the parent.

No matter the reason for initiating a claim for grandparent visitation, it is important to understand how grandparents' rights are relevant in your matter. Grandparents may feel neglected or mistreated at times when it comes to visiting his or her grandchild during or after a divorce; therefore, it is crucial to note whether or not an action for a visitation order could be filed.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Requirements for Awarding Grandparent Visitation and Custody," accessed Jan. 21, 2017

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