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The only way to get visitation rights is to get the mother to agree or to see the child when he is with the father or else to get a court order.
There is never any way to compel someone to do something they do not wish to do without a court order.
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The process to follow is to have a lawyer send a letter stating that you would rather not have to go to court but you believe it is in the best interests of the child for the child to have a meaningful relationship with his grandparents, especially if the father is not involved. But the letter would also say that you will not hesitate to proceed to court if you have no choice.