You’ve always been close with your family, and you consider your child’s spouse a part of this equation. Sadly, your adult child and their spouse have decided to go their separate ways. This is upsetting in itself, but matters have been made more complex because they have children together.
You’re close with your grandchildren and are concerned about your visitation rights post-divorce. What visitation rights do you have as a grandparent in Virginia?
The law can be unclear
Some states have specific laws that address the visitation rights of grandparents directly. Virginia has no such laws. This can leave many grandparents in the unfortunate position of not knowing exactly where they stand.
Grandparents have a legitimate interest
Despite the law not addressing grandparents directly, there are provisions that a grandparent may use. Virginia Code §20-124.2 B2 refers to “a person with a legitimate interest”. If a grandparent can show that they have a legitimate interest in the child concerned and that it would be in the child’s best interest to see them, then the family court may award visitation rights.
The best interests of the child
One thing that Virginia does have in common with other states is that custody cases are settled based on the best interests of the child. The court will take into consideration the physical and overall well-being of the child. If the child had a very close relationship with their grandparents pre-divorce, then the court may prefer that this continue.
Establishing your visitation rights as a grandparent can be tricky. Nonetheless, by having legal guidance on your side, you may be able to settle disputes over visitation and maintain the bond with your grandchild that is so important.