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Grandparents: Know Your Rights in Child Visitation Cases

By: Frank Tournour, Lawyer

Divorce can prove to be a difficult undertaking for many families. When a married couple decides that they no longer wish to live together, a number of other people may be heavily impacted by their actions. In some cases, despite the fact that both parents truly wish to spare their children any additional loss of family ties, their feelings of anger or resentment may overshadow their ability to behave in a manner that best serves their children.

Grandparents, especially those on the side of the family that does not win custody, sometimes find themselves estranged from their grandchildren. The Law Office of Frank E. Tournour, Esq., believes that grandparents and their grandchildren should have the right to enjoy close, healthy relationships. New Jersey law holds that if grandparents make the case to family law courts that visitation with them is in the best interest of their grandchildren, they should be granted the right see the children on a regular basis.

In cases involving grandparents, the court considers such questions as whether there is a strong relationship between the children and grandparents, whether the grandparents get along well with the children’s parents or guardians, and when the grandparents last saw or spoke to the children. In addition, the court examines whether the grandparent is petitioning solely for the purpose of obtaining visitation and not, for instance, to annoy or harass either party in the divorce. Finally, the court examines the grandparents’ history with the children, including any evidence of abuse.

Pursuing visitation starts with filing an application in county court to request visitation. The court serves the custodial parent or legal guardian with the papers. Once all parties have been informed about the petition for grandparent visitation, the court sets a date for a case management conference. During this hearing, the judge works with the parties to reach a settlement to which both the parents and the grandparents are amenable. If this process is unsuccessful, the judge often mandates that the parties utilize mediation services to resolve the issue. If mediation is not ordered, the judge generally schedules a plenary hearing in which both parties may present evidence.

If you are a grandparent hoping to gain visitation with a grandchild, please call the Law Office of Frank Tournour at (732) 993-4811.


Frank Tournour Explains Divorce Procedures

By Frank Tournour

Throughout the World Universally understood as the word that describes the end of a marriage, divorce remains a weighty subject in the United States and throughout nearly every corner of the world. While the practice crosses many cultural and geographical boundaries, the way that divorce is carried out in other parts of the globe varies greatly. In Western law, the dissolution of marriage once required a stated reason, which today can include one of several “no-fault” statutes.

For the most part, Western nations grant divorces based on some 16 different reasons. The reasons can establish the existence of abandonment, cruelty, desertion, adultery, or other issues that caused the divorce. Reasons like “irreconcilable differences,” however, represent “no-fault” statues, which have gained popularity in the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, and Canada since the 1960s. Any party that is married by law may request a divorce, which requires a court certification or judge order. Before the divorce is made final, both parties and the court take a number of issues into account, including prenuptial agreements, the division of assets, and possible child custody arrangements, if applicable.

Today, the Unites States has a particularly high divorce rate, but these rates vary widely depending on age, education, ethnicity, and other demographic variables. While divorce rates were continuing their rise throughout the United States and Europe in the 1990s, India enjoyed one of the lowest divorce rates in the world. In this region, arranged marriage remained quite common and divorce heavily frowned upon. For many, divorce represented a failure to uphold serious vows of commitment and devotion.

Previously, the Indian government had made it quite difficult to obtain a divorce, offering only a lengthy process that allowed only a few possible reasons as grounds for the dissolution of a marriage. However, India has seen a rapid rise in divorce over the past decade, and many experts predict that the trend will continue as the country becomes increasingly modernized.