As a parent, it can be difficult to watch your child go through the divorce process, especially if they have children of their own. Since the outcome of the child custody case can have a great impact on how often you get to see your grandchild, it is never too soon to start thinking about your grandparents’ rights in terms of visitation.
The Law Office of Jeffrey W. Hannah is here to help you in your efforts in being awarded visitation rights. We are happy to provide you with a consultation in which we can discuss your situation in detail to help you find the best possible resolution. Contact us today to get started and in the meantime, check out the California Courts’ nine requirements when grandparents request visitation.
Nine Requirements for Requesting Visitation Rights
1. Determine If There Is an Open Case
If there is an existing case involving your grandchild and his or her parents, then you can file your petition with the courts under that case. If there is no open case, then you must open one for your request. The California Courts have a useful self-help center online that can help you with this process.
2. Complete Your Court Forms
Form FL-300 must be filed to initiate your request process. This allows you to explain your preferred visitation schedule with your grandchild, describe your relationship with your grandchild, and provide any other additional information you want the judge to know before he or she makes a ruling on the matter. It is important to be as thorough as possible when filling out this form. You may also include a Parenting Time Application Attachment (Form FL-311) or explain what orders you would like on a Declaration (Form MC-031)
3. Get Your Forms Reviewed
Before you file your forms, it is a good idea to have them reviewed by your county’s family law facilitator, if they offer this service. This helps to ensure that forms are filled out properly and that you have completed all forms necessary to initiate your request.
4. Make Multiple Copies of Your Forms
You need to have four copies of your forms before you file them. The original is for the court while the other copies are for yourself and each of your grandchild’s parents.
5. File Your Forms
Once your forms are completed and you have made your copies, file them with the court clerk. They will keep the original and stamp the copies to denote that they have been filed. A filing fee is due at the time of filing. Fee waivers can be requested if you are unable to afford the fee.
6. Get Your Assigned Court Date
After you file your forms, the court clerk should provide you with a court date. Mediation may be required prior to the court date, so be sure to ask if this is the case or not.
7. Serve Papers on Your Grandchild’s Parents
Your grandchild’s parents must be notified of your legal request for visitation. Someone other than yourself who is at least 18 years old can serve them with the paperwork and a blank Responsive Declaration to Request for Order (Form FL-320). It is possible that the papers must be served in person and there may be time requirements to do so — this may vary depending on whether you filed your petition under an open case or if you had to open one.
8. File Proofs of Service
Whether your grandchild’s parents are served in person or by mail, the server must complete a proof of service form (Form FL-330 is for personal service and Form FL-335 is for service by mail). These forms are to be filled out completely and filed with the court.
9. Attend Your Hearing or Mediation
You and your grandchild’s parents may be required to attend mediation to develop a visitation agreement that is amicable for all parties. If this cannot be accomplished, the petition will move forward with a court hearing in which the judge considers all relevant information to make a ruling on the matter. This ruling will be based on what the judge feels is in the best interest of your grandchild while balancing that with the parents’ rights to make decisions for their child.
Need a Grandparents’ Rights Attorney in Sacramento?
If you are like most individuals, the requirements that we reviewed in today’s article can seem a bit overwhelming. Rest assured that the Law Office of Jeffrey W. Hannah is here to help you every step of the way in exercising your grandparents’ rights by asking for visitation with your grandchild. We are happy to walk you through the process of completing the necessary forms for petitioning visitation and we’ll make sure your petition is filed properly with the courts. Contact our team today to request your consultation — we look forward to speaking with you.