Elderly couple in New Jersey enjoying time with their grandchildren outdoors, the man holding a baby girl and the woman interacting with a toddler boy.

Do Grandparents Have Custody Rights in New Jersey?

When a couple with children divorces, it can be hard on all members of the family. Many people do not realize that this includes grandparents. Often, grandparents have a special bond with their grandchildren and they may worry about seeing their grandchildren less in the event of a divorce. As a grandparent, you may wonder what rights you have when it comes to visitation or custody in New Jersey. Read on to learn more.

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

Unfortunately, grandparents do not have many rights when it comes to visitation in New Jersey. If you are a grandparent who is seeking visitation rights in New Jersey, you will first have to file a formal motion with the court. This can be a difficult process, so it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney.

When the court makes a decision about visitation, they are working to do what is in the child’s best interests. In order to make this decision, there are a number of different factors the court will consider when it comes to visitation rights. Some of these factors include:

  • The reason you are applying for visitation
  • The relationship/bond you have with your grandchild
  • The length of time since you have seen or spoken with your grandchild 
  • The relationship you have with the child’s parents
  • Any history of abuse or neglect between the grandparent and the child
  • The effect visitation rights will have on the relationship between your grandchild and his or her parents
  • The current custody/visitation arrangement between the parents and the child
  • Any other factor that the court deems relevant to the child’s best interests

How Can a Grandparent Obtain Custody?

In New Jersey, it is not easy for a grandparent to obtain custody. But, when both legal parents are deemed incapable of raising a child, a grandparent can request to become the child’s legal guardian. Parents may be deemed unfit if the court finds evidence of:

  • Incapacitation
  • Abandonment
  • Mental health issues/medical conditions
  • Incarceration
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Substance abuse

Additionally, grandparents may be able to obtain custody in the tragic event that both of the child’s parents have passed away.

Our firm understands how important a grandparent’s relationship with his or her grandchild is, and we will work to help you earn visitation/custody. Reach out today to speak with an experienced and dedicated family law attorney.

Contact our experienced New Jersey firm

If you require strong legal representation for matters related to divorce or family law, Haber Silver Russoniello & Dunn is here to help. We proudly represent clients in Morris County and throughout the state of New Jersey. Contact our firm today to schedule a consultation.

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