If you have a child, you might wonder whether the grandparents of that child have legally sound visitation rights. Are grandparents legally entitled to visit their grandchildren?
The short answer is yes, but only in specific conditions – at least in most states.
Why It’s Important to Talk to a Lawyer
First, understand that this article is meant to provide some introductory information to the topic of grandparent visitation rights. If you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights for your grandchild, or if you’re a parent considering whether you’re legally obligated to allow the child’s grandparents to visit them, it’s important to talk to a family law lawyer.
Visitation rights are a somewhat complex legal topic, especially considering the fact that laws vary from state to state. Visitation rights in Florida aren’t the same as visitation rights in New York, and even within those states, it’s difficult for people without professional education and training to understand the full extent of the laws that apply to them. A family lawyer will help you sort these issues out and decide on your next best course of action.
Grandparent Visitation Rights
Grandparent visitation rights are a relatively recent legal development. A few decades ago, visitation rights only existed for parents, with no visitation rights extended to any other family member. However, these days, every state in the country has specific statutes in place to dictate visitation rights of many non-parents, including grandparents, foster parents, step parents, and other caregivers.
Most states have laws on the books that belong to one of two categories: restrictive visitation statutes and permissive visitation statutes. In states with restrictive visitation laws, grandparents are only allowed to seek visitation rights under certain conditions, like if the parents have divorced or if one or both parents have died. In states with permissive visitation laws, grandparents may be able to seek visitation rights even when both parents are alive and still together, assuming the visitation is in the best interest of the child.
Grandparent visitation rights have been explored by the Supreme court in the past. In Troxel v. Granville, grandparents of a child sought visitation rights after being restricted to visiting only once per month. According to FindLaw.com, “The U.S. Supreme Court decided that the application of the Washington statute violated Granville’s right as a parent to make decisions regarding the “care, custody, and control” of her children. The Court, though, did not make a finding on whether all non-parent visitation statutes violate the constitution; it restricted its decision to the Washington statute in question.”
In effect, this decision didn’t rule that visitation laws are unconstitutional; third party petitioners are still allowed to seek visitation rights in most states. However, parents of sound mind who are fit to raise children are generally given precedence in deciding what is best for their children.
When Is It Appropriate to Seek Grandparent Visitation Rights?
When would it be appropriate for a grandparent to seek visitation rights?
First, it’s important to understand that you may or may not be able to seek visitation rights depending on where you live and the current situation. It’s important to understand the laws in your state before taking any kind of action. A family lawyer can help you explore these laws and choose the best course of action for your circumstances.
Generally, in permissive states, grandparents can seek visitation rights under specific circumstances like:
- Death and divorce. If one parent has died, or if the parents have separated, grandparents may have more leverage for seeking visitation rights. If both parents have died, extended family members typically have the opportunity to become caregivers for the children – though there are some legal hurdles to jump through in order to achieve this.
- Dangerous situations. If a grandparent suspects that their grandchild is in a dangerous situation, they may also be granted visitation rights. This is usually a byproduct of a troubled household, and abusive parent, or parents who are struggling with mental health conditions.
- Unhealthy situations. The grandchild doesn’t need to be in immediate danger for a grandparent to be granted visitation rights. If the grandchild is being raised in an unhealthy way that compromises the child’s best interests, a grandparent may similarly step in.
Also, if Child Protective Services (CPS) removes a child from the home, extended family members like grandparents may have the potential to become that child’s foster parents or guardians. Again, there are several steps to go through to achieve this.
The Bottom Line
In most areas throughout the country, parents are able to make decisions for their children without interference from outside parties, including the state. If you decide you don’t want your child to be visited by their grandparents, you have that right.
However, under certain circumstances and in certain locations, grandparents can pursue visitation rights.
Web3 and Work: A Brave New World
If you’ve been paying attention for the last century, then you know the internet is the single greatest changemaker of our times. Since the turn of the century, the world wide web has gone from a wild west of read-only information to a tightly structured hierarchy regulated and owned by business. While effective organization has benefitted all users, the jump from Web 1.0 to 2.0 cost us collective ownership of the online space. One of the ways Web 3.0 developers are fixing this issue is by actively contributing to open source projects. The spread and transformation of the internet has made the self-sovereign work revolution possible.
Web and the future of work are synonymous. Not only are new digital roles seeing triple digit demand surges, but more people than ever are able to work for themselves, setting their own hours and retaining a greater portion of their revenues. By 2028, 90 million people may be self-employed. Even for those who are not, flexible schedules and remote work have become normalized thanks in large part to advances in digital technology. In 2021, 2 in 3 people considered quitting their jobs because they saw more flexible or remote opportunities.
How to Register a Car in California: Tips for New Residents
Making a major change in your life can be overwhelming. Moving to a new state and updating your personal and financial information is just part of the process. Things like updating your vehicle registration can seem daunting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be, and these steps are vital if you ever need the aid of a Bay Area auto injury lawyer in the future.
It might seem complicated, especially when you have to pay fees, transfer titles, and do lots of paperwork. However, if you follow the steps and check them off as you go it becomes much less overwhelming.
Where Are You From?
Depending on if you are registering a vehicle from out-of-state or registering a vehicle from in-state, the steps you take will look different. New residents will have to take a few extra steps, while the process for current residents is a little simpler.
Registering a Vehicle as a New California Resident
As a new resident, the first thing you will need to do is go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to establish residency. When you go to register a vehicle, you will need this proof of residency as well as proof of car insurance.
Once you’ve established your California residency, you can submit an application for the vehicle title registration. You will need to have proof of vehicle insurance coverage and the current out-of-state title and registration in order to do the transfer.
In California, a smog certification is also required. If your vehicle hasn’t had this test, there will be additional fees to see if your car passes. Vehicles that don’t pass the smog test will not qualify for registration until they pass the test, or you could be charged a penalty.
You will also have to pay the registration fees, which go up the longer you wait to register your vehicle past 20 days of establishing residency. If you buy a vehicle from a third-party and need to register the car, it must be done within 10 days of purchase.
Registering a Vehicle as a Current Resident of California
If you’re already a registered resident of California the process will be a bit easier for you, especially if you are purchasing the vehicle from a dealership. They should handle the paperwork for you and provide you with a temporary registration until the official one comes in.
If you are purchasing the car from a private party, you have 10 days to register the vehicle. When you buy a car from a private seller, be sure it comes with the owner’s manual, certifications, and has a current smog test in order to make the process easier.
Gather the vehicle title, vehicle registration number (VIN), mileage, smog certification, and the application for registration, as well as money for the fees and taxes on the transfer. If everything goes smoothly, the car is yours and is registered in the state of California by the Secretary of State Office.
How to Know if You Qualify for Workers’ Compensation
The average worker knows about workers’ compensation. However, like so many other topics, knowing what it really entails is more of an unknown. Below are four different situations that may occur quite often in the workplace and your job is to decide whether they would qualify for workers’ compensation.
- An employee shows up to work late and rushes inside to clock in. After clocking in, they slip on a puddle of water and break their arm. Had they showed up on time, they wouldn’t have been rushed, and would have noticed the spill.
- A part-time cashier does not qualify for health insurance with the company due to the store policy of needing to be full-time. While scanning items, a sharp item cuts the employee’s arm and stitches are needed.
- A full-time employee is in the middle of their shift as a car mechanic when a tire falls off the wall and breaks the employees foot.
- A football coach is walking the sidelines during a game when all of a sudden a linebacker going for a tackle slams into him. The coach is a bit shaken up, but walks it off. A month later, the coach is dealing with back issues that he noticed after the game.
Which of these situations do you believe would qualify for workers’ compensation? The answer is all of them.
What is Workers’ Compensation
To put it simply, workers’ compensation is an insurance that employers pay to cover the medical costs and other related losses after a workplace incident. This compensation is not limited to employees based on whether they are full-time, insured, or how long they’ve been with the company.
In other words, it is relatively easy to qualify for compensation as long as the victim does their part to report, monitor, and follow up on the claims. In theory, qualifying for workers’ compensation is easy while actually going through with it isn’t always the case.
Understand the Scenario
Just as the four different scenarios above had very little commonality between them, no claim process is going to be the same either. Some claims may be obvious, while others may take a bit more effort to prove.
For example, the mechanic scenario mentioned is the cookie-cutter example of an easy-to-win claim. The employee was doing what they were supposed to, the injury was immediate and obvious, and there were likely witnesses.
On the flip side, the football coach may have a tougher time. If it’s been three months since the incident and the coach hasn’t documented anything, seen a doctor, or really done anything different in his daily routine, it could be difficult to prove that the incident happened in that exact moment.
For this reason it is important to document everything. Write it down, talk to someone about it, and don’t be afraid to go to the doctor. If there is video evidence of an incident, locate it and have it ready to show. This includes taking pictures of the scene of the incident.
The worst scenario is to brush it off as being okay and have no evidence to show later.
The claim process is going to look different for everyone; however, the first step in the process is to ask the employer for workers’ compensation documents to fill out. Legally, they have to provide them.
In fact, if they don’t or if there are any issues along the way, getting an attorney involved is never a bad idea. Getting these documents filled out as soon as possible is always better. The longer the wait, the harder it will be to get a claim approved to cover all costs.
Once the documents have been submitted, it is time to wait for the decision. Sometimes it can be back within a week or two, and other times it can take months or even years. The time often depends on the claim and the variables involved.
After hopefully not too long of a process, there will be a verdict, either approving, partially approving, or denying your claim. If the claimee disagrees with the verdict, they have the right to appeal the decision and this is where evidence becomes very crucial.
Following an appeal, another verdict will be given. If the employee still feels the decision is incorrect, another appeal can be submitted. However, the verdict is unlikely to change the longer and further the process draws out.
In the case of a rewarded claim, the money will go to cover the costs of medical bills, a portion or all of lost wages, and other losses including disability and ongoing medical treatments.
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