Grandparent’s Visitation and Termination of Parental Rights in New Jersey

My grandchild has lived with me for several years, but his mother wants him back now. What are my rights?

Until 1993, grandparents in New Jersey were not permitted to seek the right to visit with a grandchild as long as the child’s immediate family unit was intact. Currently, a grandparent who seeks visitation must show the family court that such an arrangement is in the best interests of his or her grandchild. When considering such an application, a court will consider the relationship between the grandparent and grandchild as well as the effect a visitation order will likely have on the child’s relationship with his or her custodial parent.According to the 2010 United States Census, about one in 10 children across the nation resides with a grandparent. In a number of cases, a grandparent becomes a child’s primary caregiver due to a parent’s unfortunate circumstances, such as unemployment, drug addiction, or imprisonment. In order to preserve a custodial relationship, a grandparent may obtain legal custody through a court order, seek guardianship, or adopt the child. In situations where a grandparent is provided with legal custody or appointed a child’s guardian, the child’s parents retain the right to engage in parenting time. When a child is adopted, a parent’s legal rights are terminated.

My parental rights were terminated. Can I get them back?

When a New Jersey parent’s rights are terminated, this means the legal relationship between the parent and his or her child no longer exists. After a court terminates this relationship, a parent no longer has a right to engage in parenting time or make important decisions about the child’s life. In general, a termination order may be issued when a parent lacks the ability to properly care for his or her child, due to issues like substance abuse, or the parent abandons the child with a friend or relative. Often, children who are removed from the family home may be placed in the foster care system.

In limited situations, a termination of parental rights order may be vacated. The process is difficult, however, and a parent who seeks to vacate a New Jersey order terminating his or her parental rights must demonstrate that the circumstances that resulted in termination are no longer having an effect on the parent’s ability to care for his or her child. For example, a drug-addicted parent may have completed a treatment program, become gainfully employed, and attended counseling. In addition to changed circumstances, it is vital that a parent who files for reinstatement of his or her parental rights convince the court that reunification is in the best interests of the child. Typically, a court will not consider a motion seeking to restore parental rights if the child at issue is thriving in his or her new home.

If you have questions about your child custody rights, you should contact the seasoned family law attorneys at Goldstein Law Group. Our caring lawyers are available to discuss your circumstances and advise you about the legal options that are available to you. To speak with a veteran New Jersey family law advocate about your child custody case, call Goldstein Law Group at 732-967-6777 or contact us online.

More Blog Posts:

Obtaining an Annulment in New Jersey, June 7, 2015, New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Blog

Will My Former Spouse Be Entitled to All or Part of My Pension Following a New Jersey Divorce?, June 6, 2015, New Jersey Divorce Lawyers Blog


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