Virginia parents have the ability to make decisions for their children, whether or not other people may agree with those decisions. In some cases, a parent will make the decision to stop allowing their child to see their grandparents. In other situations, a parent may move away and lose contact with the child’s grandparents. This most often happens following divorce or the death of the other parent. However, many grandparents have close bonds with their grandchildren and continuing a relationship is understandably important to them. If you would like to try to regain visitation rights to your grandchildren, you should contact an attorney who is experienced in grandparents’ rights cases.
In 2000, the United States Supreme Court decided a case regarding grandparents’ visitation rights, titled Troxel v. Granville. In that case, the Supreme Court decided that a parent’s wishes should be given special weight because “the interest of parents in the care, custody and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court.” Therefore, that case determined that a court should give deference to a parent’s wishes.
Virginia state law
Virginia law also states that the parent-child relationship should be given “primary consideration.” However, the law also allows any person with a legitimate interest in the child’s life to make an argument that visitation would be in the best interests of the child. Grandparents certainly have a legitimate interest in a grandchild’s well-being, and often can make a good case why the child would benefit from a continuing relationship with them. For example, if the grandparent and grandchild have previously spent a lot of quality time together, it may be emotionally harmful to suddenly end that relationship.
While making a case that the court should override a parent’s wishes may be difficult, it is not impossible. If you believe it is in the child’s best interest to have a continuing relationship with you, you should fight for your grandparents’ rights in Virginia. An experienced attorney at the Law Offices of Raymond B. Benzinger can help you fight for your rights. Call our office today at (703) 312-0410 for help.