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When can I have visitation rights with my grandchildren?

On Behalf of | May 2, 2023 | Family Law

Your ability to visit your grandchild may depend on several factors. For instance, upon your child’s death or divorce, the other parent might prevent all contact between you and your grandchild. In such cases, you might be able to petition the court to grant you visitation rights.

Grandparents’ visitation rights in Rhode Island

There are usually two situations in which Rhode Island might recognize your visitation rights as a grandparent. First is the divorce of your grandchild’s parents. Second is the death of the parent who is your child, regardless of whether your child divorced the other parent.

Factors that determine grandparents’ visitation rights

As in many other states, Rhode Island generally considers the grandchild’s best interests in determining whether to grant visitation rights to grandparents. The court may examine several factors when considering best interests, such as the following.

  • The nature of your relationship with your grandchild
  • The possible effect of visiting with you to the grandchild’s relationship with their parent
  • Your grandchild’s preferences, if they are old enough
  • The pros and cons of your grandchild visiting you

Additionally, the court requires the following before it will move forward with visitation rights:

  • You are fit to have visitation rights.
  • You tried to visit your grandchild within the last 30 days but was unable to see them because of their parent’s actions.
  • You have no other way to visit your grandchild besides the court’s intervention.
  • You have evidence refuting the parent’s reason for preventing contact between you and your grandchild.

Child custody is already a complex topic and the court has high standards when it comes to granting  grandparent visitation rights. Knowing the law or having someone on your side who knows the law can help you ensure your rights as a grandparent to visit and maintain a relationship with your grandchild.