Divorce is an emotional process and can be complicated, especially when children are involved. Sometimes, people forget that other family members can also be greatly affected by a divorce, like grandparents. Many grandparents worry that if their son or daughter gets a divorce, they may no longer see their grandchildren.
In Louisiana, there are some laws that address grandparents’ visitation rights, but they tend to be tricky. If you are a grandparent who needs to fight for visitation rights, it’s in your best interest to meet with a Louisiana family law attorney who has experience with these types of matters.
Visitation for Those Who Have Lost the Normal Avenue
This is covered under R.S. 9.344, which addresses grandparents’ visitation rights when they have “lost the normal avenue” for seeing their grandchild. Essentially, the law realizes that it’s important for a grandparent to have an option to preserve their relationship with their grandchild. In order for a grandparent to get visitation rights, the child’s parent must be declared:
- Imprisoned; or
Once there is a determination made, the court can opt to give the grandparents visitation rights, even if the parents of the child were not married.
Visitation to Preserve a Relationship
This will apply to a situation involving extraordinary circumstances. If a parent is abusing drugs, a grandparent or another blood relative can step in and be granted the rights to care for or visit the child.
When a Grandchild Has Been Adopted
There is a situation where a grandparent may lose visitation rights when a biological grandchild is adopted by another family. This statute can be complicated, and the only way to block this is if you are the parent of a parent who is deceased or who have forfeited their right to object to the adoption.
Factors in Determining Visitation Rights
The judge will consider a variety of factors when determining whether you as a grandparent can obtain visitation rights. They will look at the length and quality of the relationship between you and your grandchild. Is your grandchild in need of any guidance you can give? If the child is old enough, the judge will consider what he or she wants if they can provide an opinion. The mental and physical health of both you and your grandchild are also taken into consideration.
There are times where statutes almost seem in conflict, and the judge will always look at what is in the best interest of the grandchild.
Repairing Relationships with the Child’s Parents
In some scenarios, none of these options fit, and it’s a matter of repairing a relationship with the child’s parents. It’s understandable if you have concerns about how your grandchildren are being raised, or you had a falling out with one of the grandchild’s parents. However, in many cases, the best route to receive more time with your grandchild is through repairing the relationship with the child’s parents.
Retaining a Louisiana Family Law Attorney
Contact the office of Candice Bennatt Law to schedule a consultation.
Candice Bennatt is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Metairie, Louisiana. She graduated from Charlotte School of Law, and has been practicing law for six years. Lauren Taylor believes in solving family law issues. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.