Grandparent Visitation in California After the Death of a Parent

Grandparent Visitation in California After the Death of a Parent

Grandparent Visitation in California After the Death of a Parent

When a parent dies, the surviving parent sometimes cuts off their children from the deceased parents family and grandparent. The children relationship with the grandparent from the deceased parent may be severed by the surviving parent. This can be especially difficult for young children, who may have had a close relationship with their deceased parent's parents. California law recognizes the importance of grandparent visitation in these cases, and allows grandparents to petition the court for visitation rights with their grandchildren after the death of a parent.

Who Can Petition for Grandparent Visitation? Under California Family Code Section 3102, the following relatives of a deceased parent may petition the court for visitation rights with the deceased parent's child:

  • The deceased parent's children
  • The deceased parent's siblings
  • The deceased parent's parents
  • The deceased parent's grandparents

When Can Grandparents Petition for Visitation? Grandparents can petition for visitation rights at any time after the death of a parent. However, the court is more likely to grant visitation if the petition is filed soon after the death.

What Factors Does the Court Consider When Deciding Whether to Grant Visitation? The court will consider a number of factors when deciding whether to grant grandparent visitation, including:

  • The nature and quality of the relationship between the grandparent and the child prior to the death of the parent
  • The child's age and developmental stage
  • The child's wishes, if the child is of sufficient age and capacity to form an intelligent understanding of the issues
  • The surviving parent's objections to visitation
  • The effect of visitation on the child's emotional and physical health
  • The effect of visitation on the child's relationship with the surviving parent

What if the Surviving Parent Objects to Visitation? The surviving parent's objections to visitation will be given "special weight" by the court. However, the surviving parent's objections will not automatically prevent the court from granting visitation. The court will still consider all of the factors listed above, and may grant visitation even if the surviving parent objects.

What Happens if the Court Grants Visitation? If the court grants visitation, it will order a specific visitation schedule. The visitation schedule may include in-person visits, phone calls, or email exchanges. The court may also order that the grandparents pay child support or other expenses related to visitation.

Grandparent visitation can be a valuable way for grandparents to stay involved in their grandchildren's lives after the death of a parent. If you are a grandparent who is interested in petitioning for visitation rights, you should speak with an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help you understand your rights and options, and can represent you in court if necessary.

Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice. The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information. This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed. The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you. This article does create any attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, APLC This article is not a solicitation.

Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section, Estates and Trusts section, and Immigration law sections of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He is a graduate of Southwestern University Law School in Los Angeles and California State University, San Bernardino School of Business Administration. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, APC is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail or visit our website at