Des Moines Grandparents’ Rights Attorneys
Protecting Grandparents’ Rights in Iowa
Many grandparents today have a strong bond with their grandchildren and play an important role in their lives. Sadly, divorce, separation, death of a parent, or conflicts among family members can threaten a grandparent’s ability to maintain a relationship with their grandchildren.
Grandparents in Iowa have a legal right to request court-ordered visitation with their grandchildren only if one parent dies, and if that parent was the child of the grandparent requesting visitation. If you are being denied time with your grandchild under these circumstances, our skilled family law attorneys at Hope Law Firm can help you seek the visitation you and your grandchild deserve.
How to Get Court-Ordered Visitation As a Grandparent in Iowa
Grandparents seeking visitation have the burden of proof and have several legal hurdles to clear. To obtain court-ordered visitation, they must show that visitation is in the best interests of the child; prove that they had a substantial relationship with the child before the suit for visitation was filed; and overcome the presumption that the surviving parent with custody of the child has the right to make decisions regarding visitation.
Factors considered in determining visitation with a grandparent include:
- The child’s prior relationship with the grandparent
- How close the grandparent’s residence is to the child’s residence
- How much time the child has available
- Health and safety of the child
- Wishes of the child
- Wishes of the surviving parent
- Physical and mental health of all parties
- Whether the grandparent has a criminal history or history of abuse or neglect
Proving a Substantial Relationship with the Grandchild
There are three ways to establish that the grandparent and grandchild have a substantial relationship:
- The child has lived with the grandparent for six months or more
- The grandparent has provided complete or partial financial support for the child for six months or more
- The grandparent has had frequent visitation with the child (including some overnight visits) for one year or more
Challenging the Parent’s Right to Make Decisions Regarding Visitation
Under Iowa law, the surviving parent is presumed to be right about denying grandparent visitation unless the grandparent can prove either that:
- The parent is unfit to make that decision; or
- The parent’s judgment has been impaired as evidenced by drug abuse, diagnosed mental illness, abuse or neglect of the child, violence or indifference toward the child, or a demonstrated inability or unwillingness to consider the emotional and physical well-being of the child.
Legal Support for Grandparents’ Rights
Although grandparents’ rights are limited in the state of Iowa, child visitation may be awarded to grandparents under certain circumstances. We understand that maintaining a relationship with your grandchild is a very important matter. Our Des Moines grandparents’ rights attorneys at Hope Law Firm are here to provide sound legal counsel and dedicated advocacy if you are seeking an order from the court for visitation with your grandchild.
Call us for a free consultation at (515) 298-5056.