New Jersey Child Visitation Lawyers: Are Grandparents Entitled to Visitation With Their Grandchildren?

The State of New Jersey affords grandparents the opportunity to file an application with the courts seeking visitation with their grandchildren. Such an application is governed by the statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1. The statute requires courts to apply the following factors when assessing a grandparent visitation application:

(1) the relationship between the child and the grandparent;

(2) the relationship between each of the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is residing, and the grandparent;

(3) the time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the grandparent;

(4) the effect that such visitation will have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is residing;

(5) if the parents are divorced or separated, the time sharing arrangement which exists between the parents with regard to the child;

(6) the good faith of the grandparent in filing the application;

(7) any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the grandparent; and

(8) any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

The statute enables courts to balance the right of the biological parents to raise their child free of interference or court intervention with the obligation of the state to protect a child’s best interest. Accordingly, before the parent’s right to raise their child is imposed upon, a grandparent making an application for visitation with the court must show by a preponderance of the evidence that serious physical or psychological harm will come to the child if the application for visitation is denied. If the court determines the grandparent making the application fails to meet their burden, the application for visitation will be denied. If the court makes a finding that harm exists, the court will go forward to decide the issue of visitation with the best interests of the child being the foremost priority.

Contact the New Jersey Family Law Lawyers at Lyons & Associates

Whether you are the biological parent of the minor child or the grandparent seeking visitation, grandparent visitation applications require proper planning and execution. If you are defending against or require a visitation application to be filed, then call one of our skilled New Jersey child visitation lawyers at 908-575-9777. Call Lyons & Associates for a consultation today at 908-575-9777. You can also fill out our online intake form.

Written by: Kristyl Berckes