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Grandparents’ rights in New Mexico – what is the law?
Unfortunately, grandparents and other relatives are not automatically granted rights for visitation with grandchildren. However, in New Mexico, under certain situations Grandma and Grandpa can ask the courts for “special” permission to visit with a grandchild.
What are those situation?
• Parents have started legal proceedings for a divorce or separation.
• Both or one of the parents of the child have died.
• A court has given custody to one of the parents.
• The child is being adopted by someone other than the grandparents after the death of both parents.
• The parents won’t grant visitation to the grandparents after they took care of the child full-time for at least three months if the child was under six years of age at the start, or for at least six months if the child was six or older at the start. This rule applies only if someone then took the child away from the grandparents, not if the grandparents offered to give the child back.
The above list may help you decide if you have a case to present to the courts. That does not mean the courts will grant time with the child. The grandparents must present a strong case and convince the courts that visitation would be in the best interest of the child’s. Technically, the grandparents have no legal rights to the child.
What if the grandparents live in New Mexico but the child lives in another state?
That depends on where the jurisdiction of the child resides. Does the New Mexico court have jurisdiction through a paternity order or visitation agreement between the parents? A New Mexico court would not have the authority to hear a grandparent’s case if the child has never lived in the state.
However, the state’s court where the child now lives and the New Mexico court can decide together which state would be better to hear the grandparent’s case if the child moved out of New Mexico in the last 6 months. Also, if a grandparent in New Mexico has a grandchild in another state they should file a visitation request with that state as some states give relatives greater rights than New Mexico does.
For more information on Family Law in New Mexico contact PJ Hartman’s office by calling 505-247-3335 or 505-247-3335.