If you are about to be involved in a grandparent visitation case, the following is a brief overview of what to expect. You would want to discuss all this with your attorney.

Ideally, the parties involved will be able to sit down and negotiate a resolution that it is in the grandchild’s best interest. If not, then, a judge will decide. Working out a resolution is usually better for everyone involved because a trial comes at great emotional and financial cost with no guarantee of success.

First, it is important to understand what factors the Court will look at if the case goes to trial. They include:

  1. the nature and stability of the relationship between the child and the grandparent seeking visitation;
  2. the amount of time the grandparent and child spent together;
  3. the potential detriments and benefits to the child from granting visitation;
  4. the effect granting visitation would have on the child’s relationship with the parents;
  5. the physical and emotional health of all the adults involved, parents and grandparents alike;
  6. the stability of the child’s living and schooling arrangements;
  7. the wishes and preferences of the child.
  8. the motivation of the adults participating in the grandparent visitation proceedings.

Also, the Court is not to try to determine whether the parent is actually fit before presuming that the parent is acting in the child’s best interest. The trial court must presume that a parent adequately cares for his or her child (i.e., is fit) and acts in the child’s best interest.

Clients should work with their attorneys to gather evidence to support or challenge the above factors. Evidence can include actual physical evidence, such as photographs, cards, letters etc. It can also include evidence in the form of various witnesses testifying. Together the attorneys and clients select the best ones to put on the best case. Both sides would have an opportunity to put on their case in front of the judge.