Happy grandparents playing game on tablet with kidsHow do Grandma and Grandpa suffer when spouses divorce? They don’t get to visit with their grandchildren as much, or at all. It is a sad but true fact for people whose only mission in life is to let their grandbabies do what their parents won’t let them.
In New Mexico grandparents, and other relatives for that matter, do not have an automatic right to visit the tiny adorable humans in their family. But, what grandparents can do, is petition the court for “reasonable” time with their grandchildren. And, in some instances, great-grandparents can do the same.
So Nanna and Pop-Pop, here is what you need to know to get to see your grandkids.

When would a court consider granting visitation to grandparents?
• If one or both of child’s parents have died;
• If the parents have started divorce, separation, or paternity proceedings;
• If a court has issued a custody order regarding the child;
• If the minor child lived with the grandparent for at least three months, and was at least six years old at the start of that three month period (six month minimum if child was over six years old), and child was removed by a parent or someone else;
• If the child is adopted by a relative, designee, religious sponsor or step-parent.

What factors does the court weigh when deciding whether to grant a grandparent visitation rights?
• Anything related to what is in the best interests of the child;
• The nature and extent of the past relationship between the grandparent and the child;
• The past relationship between the grandparents and parents;
• The visitation schedule that existed prior to the filing of the petition and what effect it had on the child;
• Whether the grandparent has any prior convictions for abuse (physical, emotional, sexual) or neglect;
• Whether the grandparent was the full-time caretaker of the grandchild in the past, for a significant period of time.

Do grandparents always end up in court when seeking visitation?
The court oversees the process but luckily this type of case will be referred to mediation. In a more comfortable setting, the respective parties will be guided by a neutral third party experienced in negotiating the issues on hand. This will save everyone time, money and unneeded anxiety in working out a schedule that’s amenable to all parties. The court then reviews the mediator’s report and evaluation before rendering a final decision.
This should hopefully be a painless process, but with any legal matter it’s always wise to talk to a lawyer as early as possible. Resolving this quickly, wisely and properly will allow you to get back to the job at hand of spoiling those grandkids rotten.
To consult with an attorney today call the most experienced family law practitioners in New Mexico, Lightning Legal Group. We are here to help you and your loved ones navigate the family court process. Schedule a free consultation now by calling 505-247-2390.

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