Grandparent Rights – Visitation
A visitation order is one possible goal of a grandparent rights case. The requirements for obtaining visitation with your grandchildren are less strict than in a bid for custody. The guiding principle; however, is the same – the best interests of the child. In New Mexico, there are a few specific guidelines regarding visitation rights for grandparents:
- Status of the parents – A New Mexico court may hear a case for grandparental visitation if the child’s parents are deceased, divorced, or separated.
- Residency – If the child is older than six, lived with their grandparents for more than six months, and was later removed from the grandparents’ home, then the court may hear a case for grandparental visitation. If the child is younger than six, the requirement goes down to 3 months.
- Adoption – Adoption rules out grandparental visitation rights, unless the adoption was granted to a relative, a step-parent, or a caretaker designated by the will of deceased parents. (1)
Federal Law applicable to grandparent rights
Grandparent rights are chiefly determined by state law, but there are relevant federal laws as well. The Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act says that all states must honor custody agreements from other states. This prevents a parent from subverting grandparent rights awarded by a court by moving to another state. There is also a Federal statute mandating the enforcement of grandparental visitation orders across state lines.
Parents have a constitutional right to care, custody, and control over there children – so long as they remain fit parents in the eyes of the law. The U.S. Supreme court, in Troxel v. Granville, 530 U.S. 57 (2000), upheld this right, but stopped short of ruling that all non-parental visitation orders unconstitutional. For this reason, all states still hear non-parental petitions for custody and visitation.
Get an experienced attorney on your side
Grandparent rights cases can be complex and emotionally taxing. If you’re seeking a visitation or custody order, you need someone with specific experience to represent your interests. PJ Hartman has over 15 years of experience representing grandparents in visitation and custody issues. Call today to find out what your options are, or for help deciding on the best way to proceed.
1 – http://www.grandparents.com/family-and-relationships/grandparents-rights/grandparent-rights-united-states