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Determining what a grandparent's visitation rights should be

The bond between grandparents and their grandchild can be significant. Grandparents in New Mexico get to enjoy seeing their grandchildren grow, just as they saw their own children grow, and grandchildren benefit from the wisdom and love their grandparents pass on to them. However, there are times where grandparents are kept from seeing their grandchild, such as in the event of a nasty divorce. When this happens, grandparents may want to petition the court for visitation rights.

When considering such a petition, there are a number of statutory factors that will be considered. These include the best interests of the child, the grandparent's previous interactions with the child and each of the child's parents, the current relationship the grandparent has with each of the child's parents, any grandparent visitation arrangements that currently exist, whether the grandparent has been abusive or neglectful in the past and whether the grandparent served as the full-time caretake of the child for a certain amount of time.

However, in addition to these statutory factors, there are also factors regarding grandparent visitation that have been established through case law. These factors include the emotional tie between the child and the grandparent; the length, quality and nature of the relationship between the child and the grandparent; how visitation will affect the child's development; the child's needs, both physical and emotional; what the child's parents want with regards to grandparent visitation; and the grandparent's agreement to foster a positive relationship between the child and the child's parents.

While New Mexico is a more hospitable state than others in the nation when it comes to grandparent rights, obtaining grandparent visitation is not always easy. Grandparents may have an uphill battle to face if they feel they are wrongfully being denied access to their grandchild. Therefore, grandparents petitioning for visitation right with their child may want to seek legal advice.

Source: the spruce, "New Mexico Grandparents' Rights," Susan Adcox, accessed on April 3, 2017

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