Grandparents play a special role in many children’s lives. Whether it’s grandma’s baking or fishing trips with grandpa, children who have a relationship with their grandparents may be happier and more secure as they enter adulthood.
After divorce, legal separation, a ruling on paternity, or the death of a minor child’s parent(s), grandparents can become excluded or confused about their role in the new family dynamic.
New Mexico Courts have addressed this issue by allowing for grandparent visitation privileges which allow grandparents to petition the court for visitation or time-sharing privileges with respect to the minor child(ren), with special consideration to the wishes of the parents.
The Court will consider several factors to include:
- The best interest of the child
- Prior interaction between the grandparent and the child
- Prior interaction between the grandparent and each parent of the child
- The present relationship between the grandparent and child, and parent of the child
- Time-sharing or visitation arrangements that were in place prior to the filing of the petition
- The effect the visitation with the grandparent will have on the child
- If the grandparent has any prior convictions for physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect
- If the grandparent has previously been a full-time caretaker of the child for a significant period
Grandparents’ rights are distinguishable from kinship guardianship rights or parental rights, as they do not give the grandparent legal custody but instead allow for visitation or timesharing.
If you are interested in establishing grandparent visitation privileges or defending against a claim for grandparent visitation privileges, please contact our office to set up a consultation.