The Do's and Don'ts After a Car Accident
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The Do's and Don'ts After a Car Accident

I was recently involved in a car accident. Unfortunately, since it was my first accident, I was scatter-brained and anxious. What I did not realize at the time was that the actions you take immediately after the accident can affect a personal injury case and the outcome of that case. I wanted to find a way to share my experiences and mistakes with other. Since the Internet is so popular, I figured this would be a great way to do so. While you likely aren't planning on being in an accident soon, if you are, hopefully you remember some of the tips I share on this website.

The Do's and Don'ts After a Car Accident

Visitation Rights For Grandparents: What Should You Expect?

Yvonne Russell

If you have become concerned at the prospect of losing contact with your grandchild, you should know that in most states your rights are protected. The family law courts justifiably reason that a child benefits greatly from a close, loving relationship with a grandparent, and thus have set guidelines in place for those grandparents who wish to assert their legal right to child visitation. For more guidance on visitation rights for grandparents, read on.

Fulfilling a need

Normally, family courts will decline to consider a grandparent's request to seek a formal visitation arrangement unless there are certain indications that the child's living environment has become unstable. The best interests of the child must take a priority, and grandparents often provide a needed level of support for children in vulnerable positions. A grandparent wishing to petition the court for formal visitation rights must request a hearing and be ready to show that the child is at risk in some manner. Some common circumstances that could catch the attention of the family court system include:

  • One parent is incarcerated and the other parent is denying the grandparent contact with the child.
  • One parent is mentally incapacitated or has reduced capacity (such as mental illness, a long-term hospitalization, drug abuse) and the other parent is denying the grandparent contact with the child.
  • One parent has died and the surviving parent is not allowing contact with the grandparent.
  • The parents are divorced and one parent is denying contact with the grandparent.

There are many more possible scenarios, but the most important factor to keep in mind is that the motive for visitation must be centered on what is best for the child, not for the grandparent who wishes a closer relationship with their grandchild. For example, you should be ready to show how the child benefits from spending time with you, such as providing a respite from a tense family home situation.

What do judges consider?

Again, the best interests of the child are at the forefront of the judge's considerations, so they commonly evaluate grandparents on the following issues:

  • If the child is old enough to be interviewed, their opinion is considered.
  • The health, both physical and mental, of the child.
  • The current grandparent-child relationship: have they spent much time together?
  • The location of the grandparent' home, since judges would not necessarily approve of an arrangement that required extensive travel.
  • The relative health of the grandparent. Not all grandparents are necessarily elderly, but the possibility of declining faculties, such as sight and hearing, could play an important part in the safety of the child.

Being placed in a potentially adversarial role against your grandchild's parent is not a pleasant position, but if the health and welfare of your grandchild is a top priority, it should be comforting to know that you can assert your legal right to spend time with them. Contact a family law firm, such as the The Law Office Of James R. Kennedy Jr., for more information.