Making modifications to a grandparent’s visitation plan

Grandparents in New Mexico often experience being apart from their grandchild’s life. Whether grandparents live close by, hours away or even in another state, ensuring that they are able to visit and spend quality time with their grandchild is important. When the parents of a grandchild are together, it is often easier to plan visitation time; however, if a divorce occurs, this could complicate the visitation plans for grandparents or even constrain any access to their grandchildren.

Depending on the details and the situation of the divorce and post-divorce plan, dissolution could greatly impact grandparents’ access to the children. New Mexico law provides for grandparents’ rights, allowing them to obtain reasonable visitation privileges. Moreover, if a court grants or orders visitation rights to a grandparent, the court also has the right to enforce these orders and even modify them.

According to section 40-9-3 of the New Mexico Statutes, a court is able to issue any necessary orders to enforce current visitation orders or to issue a modification to visitation plans. This could occur if a grandparent files an action showing good cause that a court order allowing visitation privileges is not being followed or honored by the children’s parents. In addition, if a party seeks to modify a current plan due to changes in circumstances, the court may order modification if good cause is shown.

Lastly, a grandparent or a parent may not file a petition pursuant to the Grandparent’s Visitation Privilege Act more than once per year unless good cause is shown. Because of this, it might be important to work on developing a workable and fair visitation plan the first time a petition is filed.

Divorce often brings many issues, and these issues could impact more than the immediate parties to the dissolution. Children and their grandparents could suffer greatly due to child custody plans, thus constraining the rights and visitation privileges to grandparents. In these matters, it is important to consider the child’s wishes and his or her best interests when devising a visitation plan or making modifications to a current plan in place.

Source:, “Section 40-9-3 – Visitation; modification; restrictions,” accessed on July 13, 2015

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