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New Jersey grandparents and visitation rights

New Jersey grandparents may not realize that they might have some visitation rights to their grandchildren. In recent decades, state laws have changed to allow nonparents to file for the right to visit children with whom they have a relationship. While some states only allow grandparents to file for visitation when parents divorce or if one parent is deceased, New Jersey permits grandparents to do so even if the family remains intact. However, state law may conflict with federal law to some extent. Constitutionally, parents have a right to control the upbringing of their children, and a 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling favored the rights of a parent over the grandparents.

Since the Supreme Court did not rule that all state statutes were unconstitutional, grandparents may still petition for this right, but as a result of the ruling, the wishes of the parents play a significant part in courts' decisions. As a result, grandparents who are considering petitioning for visitation rights may wish to consider mediation first.

When it comes to issues of visitation and custody, the best interests of the child are always paramount, and courts believe that allowing parents to have custody and make major decisions for children are among those best interests. However, a grandparent may feel that they should have visitation or even child custody rights.

In such a case, the grandparent may want to discuss the situation with an attorney. If they are unable to negotiate with parents, it may be necessary to take the case to court. Grandparents who can demonstrate their positive influence in a child's life and that the child will be better off with that influence may have a better chance of a successful case.

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