Can Grandparents Sue for Visitation Rights in Small Claims Court?
Grandparents can provide a unique and meaningful relationship with a grandchild, and many children carry fond memories of their grandparents for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, many grandparents find themselves unable to see their grandchildren for a variety of reasons, which can be difficult for the grandchild and grandparents themselves.
Almost every state legally allows some type of grandparent visitation. But each state varies to a significant degree about who qualifies for grandparent visitation and what is allowed. If you have been unable to spend time with your grandchild for various reasons, you may be able to sue to obtain the right to see them, regardless of parental wishes or other special circumstances.
These types of cases can be highly emotional and overwhelming, but you can rely on DoNotPay to handle much of the work for you. DoNotPay ensures that your demand letters include all of the required information and that your forms will be filled out completely and correctly with just a bit of information about yourself and your situation.
Reasons for Grandparents to File a Lawsuit for Visitation Rights
Many people wonder, “Can grandparents sue for visitation?” for a wide variety of reasons. There are several situations where a grandparent may need to file a lawsuit for visitation rights, including:
|Parental Death or Divorce||After the death of a parent to a grandchild occurs, the child’s remaining parent may not allow grandparents to see them. The same is true after a divorce, especially if one parent is granted full custody of the children and the grandparents from the other side of the family still wish to see their grandchild but haven’t been allowed.|
|Grandparent Visitation Is in the Child’s Best Interest||In some states, such as Maryland, grandparents are legally allowed to have “reasonable visitation” if it is in the best interest of the child. With these laws, there often aren’t explicit statutes to define what is “reasonable” or how the best interest of the child is determined. In many states, the best interest of the child is weighed based on a number of factors, though the parents’ wishes are given “special weight.”
Despite that, most states outline that grandparents should be given visitation with a grandchild even if it is against the parent’s wishes and if it’s in the best interest of the child. If you have not been allowed to see your grandchild due to a parent’s wishes, you may be able to sue.
|Grandparent Has Kept a Relationship With the Child or Was Prevented From Doing So by the Parent||It can be difficult to sue for visitation rights if you, the grandparent, have not had a previous relationship with your grandchild unless it was due to the parent’s actions. Grandparents who have maintained a relationship with the child — and are suddenly cut off from contact — may be able to sue for visitation rights, as can those who have been prevented from a relationship despite their best efforts.
Proving your efforts to form and maintain a relationship with the child can be as simple as sending birthday cards, writing letters, or attempting phone calls.
Filing a Lawsuit on Your Own
Filing a lawsuit in these situations can be done, but it is often much more difficult and time-consuming than it needs to be. To file a lawsuit on your own, you will have to:
- Gather evidence of visitation violations and attempts to maintain a relationship with the child.
- Send a demand letter to the child’s parents, complete with all of the required information, including a deadline with your intention to sue if you don’t hear back.
- Fill out the appropriate forms from small claims court after the deadline has passed.
- Serve the child’s parents notice of your lawsuit personally or with the help of a district clerk or police officer.
- Work on your case and prepare to face a judge in court.
These steps may seem simple enough, but they can become surprisingly difficult and complicated early on. Many cases have been tossed out due to people making mistakes along the way or failing to complete a step.
The Drawbacks of Filing a Lawsuit by Yourself
Filing a lawsuit on your own is typically not advisable. But many states don’t allow small claims cases to involve the help of lawyers. This makes it much more likely that your case won’t be ruled in your favor because of a technicality, like insufficient evidence or failure to meet a deadline.
Fortunately, there is a solution to file a lawsuit without having to speak with a lawyer or handle everything completely on your own.
Suing is Much Faster and Easier With DoNotPay
DoNotPay seeks to make the process of filing lawsuits simple while also increasing your odds of winning your case and getting the opportunity to spend time with your grandchild once again. By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, you can get a demand letter created just for you or have your forms filled out correctly and on time.
To get started, simply head to DoNotPay and log in:
- Find the Sue Now product.
- Choose sending a demand letter or getting court papers.
- Describe the reason for the lawsuit and provide photo evidence.
What Else Can You Do With DoNotPay?
Grandparent visitation cases are inherently stressful. But with the help of DoNotPay, you at least don’t have to worry about drafting letters or preparing paperwork. We also help people sue to pursue compensation from companies such as:
DoNotPay can also:
- Appeal banned accounts
- Get compensation from airlines
- Appeal parking tickets in any city
- Generate burner phone numbers
- Cancel any subscriptions or services