California grandparents rights to visitation and child custody can be found in Family Code Section § 3100-3105. According to California Family Code Section § 3102(a), if one parent of a child is deceased, then the grandparents can be granted visitation rights to their grandchildren if a court determines that visitation to be in the “child’s best interest.” However, according to California Family Code Section § 3102(c), the above does not apply if the child has been adopted by a person other than a stepparent or grandparent of the child.
The California court recognizes two important presumptions when it comes to grandparents rights. These presumptions can be found in California Family Code Section § 3104. There is rebuttal presumption that grandparent visitation is not in a minor child’s best interest if (1) the natural or adoptive parents agree that the grandparent should not be granted visitation rights (Family Code § 3104(e)) or if (2) the parent who has been awarded sole legal and physical custody of the child in another proceeding or with whom the child resides if there is currently no operative custody order objects to visitation by the grandparent (Family Code § 3104(f)).
If a parent has not been found to be unfit, in considering a petition for grandparents visitation rights by a grandparent, the California court must set aside its own judgment on what would be “in the best interest of the children” and protect the fundamental liberty rights of the parent to make decisions regarding the upbringing of their children.
For legal advice about California grandparent’s rights as it relates to child custody, visitation or adoptions, you’ll want to consult with a California child support attorney.