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Grandparent’s Visitation Rights

Grandparent’s Visitation Rights in Rhode Island

Providence Visitation & Custody Attorneys 

Under Rhode Island law, grandparents and relatives can petition the family court to visit with a grandchild and other relatives. Frequently this occurs during or after a divorce when one spouse has shunned grandparents or relatives. Additionally, visitation with a family member or grandparent is sometimes curtailed when one of the child's parents has died. At McIntyre Tate LLP, we represent grandparents who are seeking visitation rights of their grandchildren.

Petitioning for Grandparents Rights

In the first and most common scenario, following a divorce in Rhode Island or in other situations where parents simply will not allow a child to visit with grandparents, the grandparents can petition the family court to be allowed to see the child. During or after divorce they can intervene in the proceeding and seek visitation rights. Thereafter the court can make orders to enforce the visitation rights.

  • In determining whether the court should grant visitation rights to grandparents and relatives, the family court judge must make specific findings regarding whether:
  • It is in the best interest of the grandchild that the grandparent has visitation rights with the child.
  • The grandparent is a fit and proper person to have visitation rights.
  • The grandparent has repeatedly attempted to visit with his or her grandchild within the last past 30 days and was not allowed to do so.
  • There is no other way that the petitioner is able to visit with the grandchild without court intervention.
  • The petitioner proves by clear and convincing evidence that the parents' decision to refuse visitation was reasonable. 

If a grandparent successfully petitions the court, they can gain visitation rights. However, it's worth noting that grandparent's visitation rights are almost always second to parental visitation rights. 

Can a Grandparent Sue for Visitation Rights in Rhode Island?

Under Rhode Island General Laws Section 15-5-24.1, grandparents can sue for visitation if their child (the grandchild's parent) is deceased. In other words, if a child's parent dies, the grandparents on that side of the family can sue for visitation rights.

You should consult a lawyer before filing a lawsuit to obtain visitation rights. Litigation can be a combative process, and escalating tension between parents and grandparents may harm a child's relationship with both parties. However, under specific circumstances, suing for visitation may be a grandparent's best option.


Can Grandparents Get Overnight Visitation Rights?

Whether or not grandparents can get overnight visitation rights largely depends on the court handling the case.

In any child custody case, the court's primary objective is to do whatever is in the child's best interests. If the court thinks that giving grandparents overnight visitation rights would enable a child to live a better life, the judgment will reflect that opinion.

To get the best results from your case, you should hire a lawyer with experience navigating grandparent's rights cases. A grandparent's rights attorney understands the ins and outs of elder law in Rhode Island and can help you find the best path forward to pursue visitation rights with your grandchild.

With over 150 years of combined experience, our team is prepared to represent you and your case aggressively. Our Rhode Island grandparent's visitation rights attorneys are committed to securing your access to your grandchildren.

Contact our Rhode Island family law firm online to schedule an appointment with a skilled member of our team.

Unparalleled Experience. Unsurpassed Service. Unmatched Dedication.

  • Every case prepared thoroughly for trial if court intervention or litigation becomes necessary
  • We are highly selective about the cases we take on & limit our caseload to ensure individualized service
  • We utilize networks of paralegals, support staff, & experts needed to leverage high-end cases
  • We work as a cohesive team to create concise legal solutions & compassionate client services
  • Five of our attorneys each have 25+ years’ family law experience – a depth of practice few others can match.