Grandparent Visitation and Custody Requirements

Grandparent Visitation and Custody Requirements


The visitation rights of Grandparent have been accepted in every state for the past forty years. The primary intent of these rights is to guarantee that a grandchild has access to the developmental and emotional advantages of having their grandparents in their lives. The grandparent’s custody rights may be implemented when the child’s parents are incapable of properly caring for their child or when they’re deceased or imprisoned.

The below post provides a typical summary of grandparent visitation rights throughout the US, even though the specifics differ by state.

Grandparent Custody Requirements

Child custody laws, sometimes called “conservatorship” when granted to someone other than the child’s parents, are typically less specific than those governing grandparent visitation. Courts primarily assess the parent-child relationship before considering custodianship to grandparents. In many states, grandparents can be considered as potential custodians if both parents have passed away.

However, when one or both parents are alive, many states presume that the child should remain in their custody. Grandparents often need to demonstrate that the parent is unfit to convince the court to place the child in their care. Even when there’s a significant relationship between the grandparent and grandchild, it is usually a challenging process for a grandparent to gain custody of their grandchild without the parents’ consent.

Requirements for Grandparent Visitation

Visitation rights for grandparents vary by state, with specific conditions to meet. Marital status is a key factor in most states, while in some, it’s only relevant if the parents have denied visitation. In some instances, the duration the grandchild has resided with the grandparents becomes relevant.

Certain states, visitation is only granted if one parent has passed away, like when the child’s mother is deceased.

Grandparents in every state must show that granting visitation serves the child’s best interests.

Many states also require the court to consider factors like the previous bond between the grandparent and the grandchild, the potential impact of grandparental visitation on the parent-child relationship, and any evidence of harm to the child when visitation is denied.

Impact of Adoption on the Visitation Rights of Grandparents

State statutes differ in the way they treat cases whereupon a grandchild has been adopted. In many states, adoption by anyone, including another grandparent or a stepparent, terminates the grandparent’s visitation rights.

Some states preserve grandparent visitation rights in adoption, while others do so based on legal criteria.

Find Out More Concerning Your Rights as a Grandparent from an Attorney

Grandparents often wish for more time with their grandchildren, but family dynamics can be complex. Some states acknowledge grandparents’ visitation rights in the child’s best interest. Consult a nearby family law attorney to understand its impact on your family.


  1. Staff, F. L. (2021, December 29). visitation and custody requirements. Findlaw. Retrieved November 22, 2022, from

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