Grandparent and Third-Party Visitation Rights
It is presumed that parents are able to decide who may interact with their children. This includes a parent having the ability to prevent a grandparent or other third party from having access to their children. But in some circumstances, the law allows for grandparents or other third parties to seek custody or court ordered visitation with minor
In order to have court ordered visitation with a child, a grandparent or third party must prove to the Court by clear and convincing evidence that (1) a parent-like relationship exists between the grandparent/third-party and the child and (2) denial of visitation would cause the child real and significant harm. To do this, the court often considers the effect that grandparent/third-party visitation may have on the relationship between the child and his or her parents.) In determining whether a parent-like relationship exists between the person and the minor child, the Superior Court may consider, but shall not be limited to, the following factors: (1) The existence and length of a relationship between the person and the minor child prior to the submission of a petition pursuant to this section; (2) The length of time that the relationship between the person and the minor child has been disrupted; (3) The specific parent-like activities of the person seeking visitation toward the minor child; (4) Any evidence that the person seeking visitation has unreasonably undermined the authority and discretion of the custodial parent; (5) The significant absence of a parent from the life of a minor child; (6) The death of one of the minor child’s parents; (7) The physical separation of the parents of the minor child; (8) The fitness of the person seeking visitation; and (9) The fitness of the custodial parent.
In the event it is a grandparent seeking visitation with their grandchild, the Court also considers the history of regular contact and proof of a close and substantial relationship between the grandparent and the minor child.