Grandparent & Sibling Visitation in Bergen County
Do Grandparents & Siblings Have Visitation Rights?
New Jersey has a statute reserved for grandparents and siblings of children over whom they wish to establish visitation rights. N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1 permits grandparents or siblings of a child that resides in the state to apply to the Superior Court for a visitation order. This means that under the right circumstances, it is imperative that grandparents and siblings know how to file for visitation rights in NJ. However, it must be in the child’s best interests.
These issues can be complex, however, which is why it is vital that you have a skilled Hackensack lawyer on your side to protect you and the child’s best interests. Call Laterra & Hodge, LLC at (201) 580-2240 today.
Sibling Visitation Rights
Under federal law, siblings do not have constitutionally-protected rights to visitation. New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 9:2-7.1, also known as the Grandparent Visitation Statute states that siblings can obtain visitation by proving that the visits are in the best interests of the child. Reviewing N.J.S.A 9:2-7.1 will give you an idea of what NJ child visitation guidelines are for grandparents and siblings.
There are many factors, such as the relationship between the child and the sibling, the good faith of the sibling, and any history of abuse by the sibling, among others that help courts determine if visitation should be granted. Courts generally prefer that families work out visitation, as determining what is best for the child can be very difficult.
How to File for Custody of a Sibling
- File a petition for guardianship. You must file a petition for custody with the court in your sibling's county. The petition must include your name, your sibling's name, and the names of your sibling's parents. You must also state why you believe that you should be granted guardianship.
- Schedule & attend the hearing. The court will hold a hearing on your petition. At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to present evidence and testify about why you believe that you should be granted guardianship. The other parent(s) can also present evidence and testify.
The court will make a decision. After the hearing, the court will decide whether to grant you guardianship. The court will consider all relevant factors, including the child's best interests, your relationship with the child, and the other parent(s)' objections. If you are granted guardianship, you will be responsible for the care and upbringing of your sibling.
This includes providing for their physical and emotional needs and making decisions about their education and healthcare.
If you have any questions about getting custody of a sibling, you should speak with our attorney. Our attorney can help you understand the law and protect your rights.
Protecting the Best Interests of Children
It is the grandparents’ or siblings’ burden to provide that granting a visitation order is affirmatively in the child or children’s best interests. It is noted that the statute expressly states that it shall be evidence, on its face, that visitation is in the best interests of the child if the grandparents or siblings had, at some point, been a full-time caretaker for the children.
There are additional factors that a court will consider, such as:
- The connection between child, the grandparents, and any siblings
- Any relationship between the child’s parents, the grandparents, and the siblings
- The lapse of time between contact
- The good faith in bringing the action
At Laterra & Hodge, LLC, our Hackensack attorneys can advise you of your rights when it comes to grandparent or sibling visitation. We will help you to formulate the best strategy to allow you to maintain a relationship.