Virginia Beach Attorneys Protecting Grandparents’ Rights
Since there is no statute on the record in Virginia that explicitly gives grandparents the right to custody or visitation, there are substantial hurdles to establishing grandparents' rights in Virginia. However, establishing your right to custody or visitation is possible. The Stallings Law Group, P.C. seeks to help families work out their problems through mediation or collaborative law. Our grandparents’ rights attorneys in Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads and Suffolk, VA. are thoroughly skilled trial lawyers who are prepared to do everything possible to secure a just outcome.
Cost-effective dispute resolution
Mediation often proves to be a more effective and cost-efficient way of accomplishing the grandparent’s goal without incurring the cost of litigation, especially where problems can be resolved creatively. Our Virginia Beach grandparents’ rights attorneys serve Hampton Roads and Suffolk, VA are creative negotiators who are often able to achieve positive outcomes without the expense of trial.
Compromise is sometimes possible. For example, if the custodial parent is denying visitation due to financial or time constraints, it is always possible for the grandparents to take the initiative by offering to pick up the child from school and drop the child off for dinner, so as to eliminate costs of daycare. If custody is at issue, a parent might be willing to compromise by offering a week of visitation in the summer.
In other cases, litigation is necessary. Our child visitation attorneys can help you prepare a cohesive pretrial or trial strategy. In general, grandparents can either join with one parent to file a visitation or custody petition or file an independent petition for visitation or custody. These lawsuits move forward on the basis of case law that establishes an implied right to visitation or custody by a “person of legitimate interest.”
The standard of proof in grandparents’ rights litigation
Joining with one parent to file a visitation or custodial petition is usually the preferable way for grandparents to initiate litigation because the standard of proof is much lower. When one parent supports the grandparents’ right to have custody or visitation, then the court has to find by clear and convincing evidence that it is in the children’s best interests for the grandparents to have visitation or custody.
If neither parent wants the grandparents to have custody or visitation, courts first consider whether both parents are fit parents. If there is no reason to believe that there is a problem with the parenting, grandparents would only get custody or visitation if there is evidence that there would be actual harm to the children if custody were not granted. For more information about the distinction between the clear and convincing evidence standard and the actual harm standard, contact a grandparents’ rights lawyer at The Stallings Law Group, P.C.
Skilled team of Virginia grandparents’ rights lawyers
At The Stallings Law Group, P.C., our divorce lawyers serving Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads and Suffolk, VA recognize the important roles grandparents play in the lives of children. If you need assistance obtaining visitation rights, please call 757-422-4700 or contact us online to discuss your case with an experienced attorney in your area. Our firm offers free initial consultations.