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When may Washington grandparents seek visitation rights?

The bond between a loving grandparent and his or her grandchild can be a source of great happiness and security for both the grandparent and the grandchild. However, a messy divorce can lead to parents refusing to let a child see his or her grandparents. When this happens, grandparents may want to turn to the court to pursue visitation rights. In Washington, grandparents may seek visitation time with their grandchild after a divorce if it is in the child's best interests.

According to Washington code, courts will consider a variety of factors when determining whether grandparent visitation after a divorce is in the child's best interests. In addition, the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild must be significant.

What factors may be taken into account when determining the child's best interests? One such factor is the strength of the grandparent's relationship with his or her grandchild. The relationship the grandparent has with his or her grandchild's parents may also be considered. If a parent objects to grandparent visitation, their reason for doing so may also be considered. In addition, how grandparent visitation will affect the relationship between the grandchild and his or her parents may also be taken into account. Moreover, the court may consider the arrangements through which the grandchild resides with each parent. The grandparent's good faith is another factor that may be considered, as may any abuse, neglect or criminal history on the part of the grandparent. Finally, if there are other factors relevant to determining what the best interests of the child are, these may also be taken into account.

Grandparents' rights are important to uphold. After all, grandparents often enjoy a special relationship with their grandchild, and this relationship should not be endangered due to a difficult divorce. The law recognizes this and therefore provides a means through which grandparents can seek visitation rights under certain circumstances. Grandparents who have been denied access to their grandchild after a divorce may want to consider their legal options.

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