Visitation rights generally apply to parents who don’t have full or equally-shared custody of their children. However, Virginia is one of many states that recognizes that people beyond biological or legal parents may play a very important role in the lives of children.
As a grandparent, you probably treasure the time you spend with your grandchildren and do a lot to help support them financially and emotionally. Unfortunately, if your child dies and you have a bad relationship with your in-law or if there is a contentious divorce, you could find yourself cut out of your grandchildren’s lives. Do you have any legal options as a grandparent in Virginia?
Virginia sometimes allows third-party visitation
The custody laws in Virginia seek to uphold the best interests of the children involved. Shared custody after a divorce is a common outcome because the courts recognize the importance of relationships with both parents, when possible, for child development.
Stepparents, aunts, uncles and grandparents can all play crucial roles in a family unit. Provided that you can show that you have had an important and positive relationship with your grandchildren, you may be able to ask the courts to give you visitation even if the custodial parent doesn’t want to see you. A pre-existing relationship is necessary, unlike with parental visitation.
Still, it is possible to ask for visitation even when a parent doesn’t want to allow you around the children. If the courts agree that it would be in the best interest of the children, they may give you the formal right to spend a specific amount of time with the kids.
Eventually, when you show your dedication to the children, your relationship with the custodial parent may improve and allow for more informal socialization with your beloved grandkids. If you have questions or concerns, an experienced attorney can help you.