While many grandparents have close relationships with their grandchildren, this is not the case in all families. Divorce, death, and disagreements all can lead to strained relationships between grandparents and the parents of their grandchildren. In some cases, grandparents may turn to the legal system for assistance in getting to visit with their grandchildren.
Historically, Washington law had some of the most generous grandparent visitation rights in the country. After a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, though, this was no longer the case. Washington law generally provides that parents have the right to determine who should spend time with their children. As long as a parent is “fit,” meaning that he or she is able to provide for and care for their children, the parent may deny grandparents time with grandchildren. A parent who refuses visitation with one set of grandparents or the other can do so for any reason, or no reason. The best route to time with your grandchildren is to improve your relationship with your adult children.
On the other hand, if you are concerned that your children are not able to care for your grandchildren due to such things as substance abuse, mental health, or criminal activity; you may be able to request that you care for your grandchildren through the Court. Such legal action has very high barriers. It can also damage already fragile relationships with your adult children, so taking such a step should not be done lightly.
At Pacific Northwest Family Law, we know how stressful, emotional, and complex family law proceedings can be, from divorce to child custody to grandparent visitation. If you are seeking visitation with your grandchild, you need the advice and guidance of an attorney with a background in family law. Contact our office today to set up a meeting with an experienced Washington family law attorney at Pacific Northwest Family Law, and learn how we can help you with your family law case.