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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30337
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My son has passed away 6 months ago. I have not seen my

Customer Question

My son has passed away 6 months ago. I have not seen my granddaughter since his funeral. She refuses to answers phone calls or text messages when I ask to if I can have a visit with my granddaughter. Can I take her to court for visitation of my only granddaughter? Granddaughter lives in Virginia.
Submitted: 1 month ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm very sorry for your loss.

Yes, Virginia law allows a grandparent to petition for visitation with their grandchild when only one parent is objecting to them spending time together. To win a judgment, you'll have to show that allowing you to see the child is in the best interests of the child. One of the easiest ways to do that is to show that the child lived with you at any point before your son passed away, or to talk about your existing relationship with her.

Here is the full list of factors the judge will look at when making a decision, taken from Code of Virginia, Section 20-124.3.

1. The age and physical and mental condition of the child, giving due consideration to the child's changing developmental needs;

2. The age and physical and mental condition of the parent/grandparent;

3. The relationship existing between each parent/grandparent and each child, giving due consideration to the positive involvement with the child's life, the ability to accurately assess and meet the emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child;

4. The needs of the child, giving due consideration to other important relationships of the child, including but not limited to siblings, peers and extended family members;

5. The role that each parent/grandparent has played and will play in the future, in the upbringing and care of the child;

6. The propensity of each parent to actively support the child's contact and relationship with the other parent, including whether a parent has unreasonably denied the grandparent access to or visitation with the child;

7. The relative willingness and demonstrated ability of each parent to maintain a close and continuing relationship with the child, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in and resolve disputes regarding matters affecting the child;

8. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of reasonable intelligence, understanding, age and experience to express such a preference;

9. Any history of family abuse as that term is defined in § 16.1-228 or sexual abuse. If the court finds such a history, the court may disregard the factors in subdivision 6; and

10. Such other factors as the court deems necessary and proper to the determination.

These are also the custody factors, but the judge will still look at them when deciding visitation. One thing that helps you is that you're not asking to interfere with her relationship with her mother, you just want to be part of her life. That would fall under the 10th factor.

The courts don't make free forms for these types of cases. You could try looking at sites like www.legalzoom.com or www.uslegalforms.com to see if they have anything. If there is a law library near you, the librarian can show you books that talk about these cases and include forms you can copy. The other option is to hire a local attorney to first try to negotiate with her, and second, help you with the case if that doesn't work.

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Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 month ago.

Do you have any questions about this?