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Can grandparents in Louisiana seek visitation rights?

Many people in Louisiana have experienced first-hand the love that only a grandparent can provide. Whether it is fishing with grandpa or baking cookies with grandma, the bond between a grandparent and his or her grandchild is a special thing. Unfortunately, sometimes life circumstances, such as a divorce, can get in the way of this bond, or may prevent a grandparent from spending time with his or her grandchild altogether. When this happens, can a grandparent seek visitation rights through the court?

Per Louisiana statute, in some circumstances the court will grant a grandparent reasonable visitation rights. Whether or not to grant such rights will be based on an examination of the child's best interest. Those concerned about the status of grandparents' rights may wish to consult with a family lawyer.

There are several factors that will be taken into consideration when evaluating the child's best interests. First of all, the court will take into consideration how long the relationship between the grandparent and the grandchild has lasted and the quality of their relationship. In addition, the court will examine whether the child needs the grandparent to guide him or her, and whether the grandparent is the best person to provide such support.

The child's preference will also be considered if the child is old enough and mature enough to express what he or she would want. Moreover, the grandparent's willingness to keep the parent-child bond intact is also considered by the court. Finally the grandparent's health and that of the child will also be taken into consideration.

In addition, prior to determining whether or not to award a grandparent visitation rights, a contradictory hearing will be held to decide if it is necessary for the child to have his or her own attorney appointed by the court.

Grandparents and grandchildren can enrich each other's lives. It is important for this bond not to be needlessly severed. The intent of this post is not to provide legal advice. Grandparents who are interested in pursuing visitation rights or who have questions about other family law issues may want to seek the help of a family law attorney.

Source: Louisiana State Legislature, "Art. 136 Award of Visitation Rights," accessed June 23, 2015

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