A look at grandparents’ rights in New Jersey

Grandparents in New Jersey who have been involved with their grandchildren may have a good case for getting parenting time. Under the New Jersey Grandparent Visitation Statute, grandparents have the legal right to visit with their grandchildren when the kids’ parents divorce or separate. An amendment has also extended visitation rights and even the possibility of custody in a number of circumstances, including when the nuclear family is still in place.

Unfortunately, there are cases in which a child’s parent may try to prevent a grandparent from seeing the child. When that happens, the grandparent can file an application for a visitation. The law outlines eight factors when determining whether or not the rights will be granted, including the following: 

  • How much time has passed since the child and grandparent last had contact
  • The relationship between the child and the grandparent
  • The relationship between the grandparent and the child’s parents or the person with whom the child is living
  • What effect the visitation rights could have on the child’s relationship with his or her parents or the person with whom he or she is residing
  • The grandparent’s history of neglect or sexual, physical or emotional abuse, if any
  • The parenting arrangement that the child’s divorced parents have, if applicable

The court will also evaluate the grandparent and take any other factors into account as they relate to the best interests of the child.

In a study published in Live Science, researchers determined that grandparents and their adult grandchildren who had a close relationship with each other actually showed fewer symptoms of depression. Advocates for grandparents’ rights emphasize the fact that in many cases, giving children time with their grandparents is beneficial to the kids’ wellbeing. As the report points out, preserving relationships between children and extended family members is important now more than ever.

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