Visitation Rights of Grandparents
Information on Grandparent Visitation
AS 25.20.065 states that grandparents can petition the Court for visitation with their grandchildren, either during a custody dispute between the parents (this is called "intervening") or in a separate case. Grandparents can only file their own case if there is no on-going custody dispute between the parents, and they have not previously requested the court order visitation with the chidlren at issue.
In order for a court to order visitation with your granchildren, you will have to convince the Court, through clear and convincing evidence, that:
- You have attempted to maintain a relationship with your granchildren,
- That the visitation is in your grandchildren's best interests, and
- That the parents are unfit to make decisions about visitation.
This is a very high burden of proof and can be difficult to meet. Judges do not generally believe it is in the best interests of the children to force visitation over the parents' objections, as it exposes the children to unnecessary familial conflict. The court will also consider if your child (the mother or father) was violent or abusive towards your grandchildren, which may provide an extremely valid basis for the custodial parent (your former daughter- or son-in-law) to object to visitation with you.
Forms and instructions on how to request court-ordered visitation with your grandchildren are available through the Family Law Self Help Center.