Table of Contents:
Visitation and Custody Jurisdiction
Under Oregon's child visitation and custody laws, the rights of grandparent's fall under a heading of "rights of a person who establishes emotional ties creating child-parent relationship or ongoing personal relationship." While this broad banner of individuals who can be granted visitation rights or custody can apply to several family members, such as adult siblings or aunts and uncles, or even to non-relations, this section of Oregon's domestic relations law codifies the visitation rights of grandparents as well.
If the child for which a grandparent is seeking visitation or custody has been or is being placed in custody in a state agency or through foster care, or if guardianship proceedings are being conducted to appoint guardianship of the child, a grandparent must petition or file a motion for intervention in the court having jurisdiction over the child's case in order to be granted visitation or custody.
If no such proceedings are underway, and a grandparent is being denied visitation rights by their grandchild's parent or guardian, then they can petition the court of the county in which the child is living for temporary visitation rights or custody.
Criteria for Visitation
In any instance where a grandparent petitions an Oregon court for visitation with a child, the court, under law, automatically begins proceedings with the presumption that any parent denying a grandparent visitation has done so with the best interests of the child in mind. Therefore, a grandparent's primary objective in petitioning the court is to refute that presumption and demonstrate that visitation is in the best interest of the child.
Under Oregon law, the court petitioned can consider evidence that speaks to certain criteria in order to make a determination of whether visitation should be grated. Such submitted evidence can include documentation showing that the grandparent is, or has been recently, the child's primary caretaker; any evidence which shows that denial of visitation would have a detrimental impact on the child; evidence that the child's legal parent has fostered, encouraged or consented to a relationship between the grandparent and grandchild; evidence demonstrating that visitation would not interfere with the relationship between the child and their parent or legal guardian; and any evidence which demonstrates that the child's parent has unreasonably denied or limited contact between the child and the petitioning grandparent.
Criteria for Custody
Likewise, if a grandparent is seeking custody of a grandchild, he must make a case before the court that his custodianship of the child is in the child's best interest. Under Oregon law, the grandparent can present evidence that speaks to criteria much the same as applies to a petition for visitation.
In addition to evidence submitted by a grandparent demonstrating that he is or recently has been the child's primary caretaker, or that circumstances detrimental to the child exist if custody of the child is not granted to the grandparent, a grandparent may also be required to present evidence demonstrating that the child's current legal guardian is not able, or is unwilling to provide adequate care for he child.
Adoption by Stepparent
Under Oregon law, if a stepparent of a child files a petition for custody following or during the dissolution of a marriage, a copy of this petition must be delivered to the child's biological grandparents so that they can petition the court for visitation rights. By state law, a grandparent must file a petition for visitation with the court in which the custody case is in motion within 30 days from the date of her notification of the custody petition.
If custody of a child is granted to a stepparent and the child's grandparent fails to file a petition for visitation within the 30-day window, the stepparent may then legally deny the grandparent visitation rights.
Idaho law permits grandparents and great grandparents to have visitation rights with their grandchildren in Idaho if such visitation would be in the best interests of the child or children. When determining a child's best interests, the court weighs heavily on whether the child had a pre-existing relationship with his grandparents or great-grandparents.
Best Interests of the Child
When determining the best interests of the child and whether court-ordered visitation with the child's grandparents would be best for the child, the courts consider the following factors: the wishes of the parents, grandparents and child, the interaction and relationship the child has with his parents, grandparents, siblings and other familial persons, the child's relationship with his community, the health and wellness of the child, his parents and his grandparents, and any history of domestic violence or abuse in the family.
When a child is adopted, the grandparents' and great-grandparents' right to visitation with the child is terminated.
Texas family courts will typically side with the parents if they do not want their children to have visitation with grandparents. However, if a court believes that a parent has no grounds for refusing visitation and may be acting out of retaliation against a former spouse, it may order grandparent visitation. Grandparents who are being denied visitation unreasonably can file a petition in family court. A judge will decide if the continued relationship between the grandparents and the children would be beneficial or detrimental. Grandparent visitation may be ordered if the parents are involved in divorce proceedings, if one of the parents is incarcerated for a period of at least 90 days, if the child has been abused, neglected or is in need of supervision, if one of the parents had their parental rights terminated or if the grandchild has live with the grandparents for over six months. (see references 2).
A Texas family court may consider a grandparent to be a managing conservator to a child if it is in the best interests of the child. A grandparent may also be granted conservatorship if the parents relinquish their parental rights or have their parental rights terminated, if a court finds that a child is being abused, neglected or endangered by his or her parents, if there is domestic violence in the home or if the parents are deceased. Grandparents who are the legal conservators to a grandchild must file an annual report with a family court. Parents can be ordered to pay child support to grandparents who are conservators to their children (see references 3).
A grandparent may adopt a grandchild in Texas if the parents relinquished their parental rights or had them forcibly terminated or if the parents are deceased. A grandchild over the age of 12 must consent to an adoption unless the court deems that it is in his or her best interest. A grandparent who is married must also have his spouse on the petition to adopt, and grandparents who are conservators to their grandchildren must provide a court with written consent to allow the child to be adopted. Grandparents who adopt grandchildren have the same rights as non-family adoptive parents, including access to medical, genetic, social and education records (see references 4).