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Do I have the right to visitation with my grandchild in Virginia?

On Behalf of | Jan 23, 2023 | Family Law

As a proud and loving parent, the most important thing to you is your child’s welfare. Unfortunately, their life has been cut short. However, they had their own children and you are extremely close to them. The problem is that you don’t always see eye to eye with their living parent.

Upon your most recent visit with your grandkids, you’ve been told that the visits will be stopping from now on. Is this allowed? Do you have visitation rights as a grandparent in Virginia?

The best interests of the child

All Virginia child custody cases are settled based on the best interests of the child. Generally, there is a presumption that it is best for the child if both parents are active in their upbringing. Thus, parents have automatic visitation rights in law. The same cannot be said for grandparents. In Virginia, there are no automatic visitation rights for grandparents.

What can you do?

While grandparents are not mentioned specifically in Virginia state law, people with a “legitimate interest” can pursue visitation or custody rights. As a grandparent, you have a good chance of proving you have a legitimate interest.

If you have been prevented from seeing your grandchild, then you do have options. If you can establish that your child (the deceased parent) consented to you having visitation rights, and the court deems this to be in the best interests of the child, then they can allow visits.

You’re not alone

No parent should have to face the pain of losing their child, let alone their grandchildren as well. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s vital to remember that you are not on your own. While the visitation rights of grandparents can be hard to establish, it is possible. With the right legal guidance behind you, you stand a better chance of maintaining that special bond with your grandchildren.