What Rights Do Grandparents Have in New Jersey Divorce and Custody Disputes?

In today’s complex world, divorce and custody disputes are unfortunately common occurrences. These legal battles can be emotionally charged and legally intricate, often involving not just the parents, but also grandparents who are deeply invested in the lives of their grandchildren.

It’s crucial to understand the rights that grandparents have in such situations, as their role can have a profound impact on the well-being of the children involved. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the legal aspects surrounding the rights of grandparents in divorce and custody disputes.

Recognizing Grandparents’ Significance

Grandparents are undeniably significant figures in the lives of their grandchildren. They provide emotional support, a sense of stability, and a connection to family history. However, when families are embroiled in divorce or custody disputes, the question of grandparents’ rights often arises. While laws governing these rights vary across different jurisdictions, New Jersey has specific provisions that address this issue.

Here are the key points to remember with regards to grandparents’ rights in divorce and custody disputes:

New Jersey Law on Grandparents’ Rights

A family law attorney will have you know that grandparents have no inherent rights to custody of their grandchild in New Jersey. However, grandparents can petition the court for visitation rights if the child’s parents are divorced, separated, or deceased. To be eligible, the grandparent must demonstrate a genuine and ongoing relationship with the grandchild and prove that granting visitation is in the best interests of the child.

In addition to this, grandparents can also seek visitation or custody if the child’s parents were never married. New Jersey’s grandparents’ rights laws extend beyond biological grandparents. Third-party visitation rights allow non-parents to seek visitation or custody of a child under certain circumstances. These circumstances include situations where the child’s parents are deceased, divorced, or separated.

Factors Considered by New Jersey Courts

When evaluating grandparents’ rights in New Jersey, the courts take various factors into consideration. These factors include the relationship between the grandparents and the child, the motivations behind seeking visitation or custody, and the potential impact on the child’s well-being. The court’s primary focus is always on the best interests of the child.

Grandparents’ Visitation Rights in New Jersey

New Jersey law allows grandparents to seek visitation rights if the parents are divorced or separated. However, the process is not automatic. Grandparents must demonstrate that their relationship with the child is substantial and that visitation is in the child’s best interests. Courts may grant visitation if it is deemed that it would be detrimental to the child’s well-being to sever ties with their grandparents.

Obtaining Custody as Grandparents

In extraordinary circumstances, New Jersey courts may award custody to grandparents. This usually happens when both parents are unable to provide proper care for the child due to factors such as substance abuse, neglect, or other serious concerns. To obtain custody, grandparents must prove that it is in the child’s best interests to live with them and that they can provide a safe and stable environment.

Here are some tips for grandparents seeking custody of children:

  • Hire an experienced family law attorney who can help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights.
  • Demonstrate that you have a genuine and ongoing relationship with the child.
  •  Prove that granting custody to you is in the best interests of the child.
  •  Be prepared to show that the child’s parents are unfit or that exceptional circumstances exist that warrant granting custody to you.
  • Be patient and persistent. Custody disputes can take time to resolve, but it’s important to stay focused on what’s best for the child.

Navigating the legal process of securing grandparents’ rights in New Jersey can be complex. It’s highly advisable for grandparents to seek legal counsel from an experienced Netsquire family law attorney who is well-versed in the nuances of the state’s laws. An attorney can guide them through the legal steps, help gather necessary evidence, and present a strong case in court.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

In New Jersey, mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods can offer a more amicable way to address grandparents’ rights in divorce and custody disputes. These processes can allow all parties involved to discuss their concerns and preferences, ultimately arriving at solutions that serve the best interests of the child while maintaining important family relationships.

The Well-being of Children

Research consistently highlights the positive impact that grandparents can have on the overall well-being of their grandchildren. In the context of divorce and custody disputes, preserving the connection between grandchildren and grandparents can provide emotional stability and continuity during a challenging time.


In the complex realm of New Jersey divorce and custody disputes, grandparents’ rights are a critical consideration. The state’s laws emphasize the importance of maintaining strong family bonds for the well-being of the children involved. Whether seeking visitation or custody, grandparents should be aware of their legal options and the steps they need to take to protect their relationship with their grandchildren.

Are you a grandparent trying to know your rights in your grandchildren’s custody dispute? Consult with Netsquire’s family lawyers today and find out what role you could play in your grandchildren’s custody and well-being. Their lawyers are on hand to explain to you your rights and help you obtain visitation rights or even custody if deemed necessary by the court.



By Clare Louise