Many children are lucky enough to have grandparents, siblings, stepparents, aunts and uncles and other family members and friends take an active role in their lives. Unfortunately, these key relationships often get disrupted when parents divorce. Although in an ideal world, both parents would seek to encourage these relationships when they benefit the child, sometimes this is not the case.
Thankfully for many, any third party, including grandparents, great-grandparents and others, may seek visitation rights with children. To petition for third party visitation rights, there are generally three factors you must show:
- Visitation is in the best interests of the child
- You have a parent-like relationship with the child
- The child would suffer harm akin to abuse and neglect if your relationship is not permitted to continue
According to Connecticut law, the court may grant visitation rights to anyone. These rights are subject to conditions and limitations imposed by the court based on the facts of the case and what the court believes is equitable and in the best interest of the child. If the child is of sufficient age and mental capacity, the court may consider the child’s own wishes.
While grandparents, former stepparents and others may be granted the right to spend time with a child, they are not given parental rights. Furthermore, despite the law, many courts are still reluctant to award grandparents and other third parties visitation rights over the objections of parents. To make a strong case for visitation, you should consider speaking with a family law lawyer who has experience in custody and visitation cases.