Generally, parents have a fundamental right to make decisions regarding the care, custody and control of their children. This includes whether or not to involve the children's grandparents in their lives.

However, N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1 provides grandparents with the right to seek visitation with their grandchildren, even if denied by the parent(s). However, these cases are undoubtedly challenging. The grandparents must first prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the grandparents' time with the children is necessary to avoid harm to the child. The court, in making that determination, is required to consider the following eight (8) factors:

  1. The relationship between the child and the applicant;
  2. The relationship between each of the child's parents or the person with whom a child is residing and the applicant;
  3. The time which has elapsed since the child last had contact with the applicant;
  4. The effect that such parenting time will have on the relationship between the child and the child's parents or the person with whom the child is residing;
  5. If the parents are divorced or separated, the time sharing arrangements which exists between the parties with regard to the child;
  6. The good faith of the applicant in filing the application;
  7. Any history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect by the applicant; and
  8. Any other factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

For more information on how the laws and procedures regarding grandparents' rights in New Jersey would apply to your family, please call us at 973-993-9960 or click here to schedule a consultation.