Q: My son won't let me see my grandson? I'm live in NJ, do I have a right to see him??
My son isn't married but lives with the mother of his son and she doesn't like me..she has my son convinced I'm teaching my grandson curse words (he is 3 and repeats everything) and I've told my son I never curse in front of him and instead I'm always correcting my son and his friends and the baby's mom and tell them to stop it! She has also told my son other things and he was sick of being in the middle of things and told me I can't have the baby anymore. I would typically keep him where I live almost every weekend and sometimes during the week so they could go out with friends. I would like to know if I have a right to see my grandson? He loves me and is always excited to see me and talks about me to his mommy and daddy all the time ( that's what they told me prior to keeping him from me) is there anything I can do to get visitation with him??
A: If you have had regular visits with him for a continued period of time, you should consult a family law attorney about a Grandparents' Rights case. The attorney can give you advice tailored to your unique situation so that you can know your options and make an informed decision.
Under N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1(b), the following factors must be considered by the court in a grandparent visitation matter:
(1) The relationship between the child and the applicant;
(2) The relationship between each of the child's parents or the person with whom the child is residing and the applicant;
(3) The time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the applicant;
(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 applicant in filing the application;
(7) Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant; and
(8) Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.
But to understand the standard set forth above, a grandparent seeking visitation over the objection of the parent[s], must prove that denial of the visitation would result in harm to the child.
The grandparent must make clear and specific claims of concrete harm to the child if the visitation is not permitted, focusing on the longstanding and continuous relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild.
The alleged harm must be significant enough to justify the court’s intervention in the parent-child relationship and cannot be based on an ordinary grandparent–grandchild relationship of intermittent contact.
Similarly, general or conclusory allegations of harm to the child are insufficient.
The purpose behind this heightened standard of evaluation by the court is to avoid a setting where an overbearing grandparent seeks to impose the economic and emotional burden of litigation on fit parents, and on the child himself, merely by alleging an ordinary grandparent-child relationship and its unwanted termination of that relationship.
If you believe that your relationship with your grandchild meets the standard listed above, then my suggestion is that you write out the details of that relationship over the course since the birth of the child and schedule a consultation with a family law attorney experienced in handling Grandparent Visitation Complaint matters to review whether you have a proper basis to ask the court to intervene.
This is not a simple or routine type application and requires a specialist.
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