For many New Hampshire children, grandparents play a crucial role in their lives – providing love, care, comfort, guidance, and at times stability and security. However, some New Hampshire grandparents find themselves in the unfortunate position of being denied contact with their grandkids. Sometimes this happens because the parents are getting divorced, and one parent views the grandparents as aligned with the soon-to-be-ex. If your grandchildren’s mother (or father) isn’t allowing you to see your grandchildren, you should know that in New Hampshire you do have rights as a grandparent. However, these rights are limited – they only apply to grandparents whose grandkids are not living in a nuclear family (with both parents) – because of divorce or legal separation, because the parents are unmarried, because one parent has passed away, or because one parent’s parental rights have been terminated. If you are being denied access to your grandkids and they’re not living in a nuclear family, you should seek the assistance of an experienced New Hampshire family law attorney to discuss your situation. The lawyer will explain to you that courts consider the following factors in determining whether you should have visitation with your grandkids:
1. Would visitation with your grandkids be in their best interest?
2. Would visitation interfere with the kids’ relationship with their parents or with parental authority over the kids?
3. How close are your grandchildren to you? How often did they visit with you? Are they safe with you?
4. What is your relationship with the parent that is resisting visitation? Is there friction between the two of you and if so, how would visits with you impact the kids?
5. What caused the children to be living with only one parent – divorce, legal separation, death, termination of parental rights?
If the family law attorney believes your rights as a grandparent are being unreasonably restricted based on New Hampshire law, the lawyer will file a Petition for Grandparent Rights with the New Hampshire Circuit Court – Family Division. Circuit Court locations include Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Goffstown, Merrimack, Hooksett, Franklin, Hillsborough, Derry, Brentwood, and Salem.