You love your grandchildren, and you want to be in their lives. However, one or both of your grandchildren’s parents don't want you to see them. You may be hurt, angry, and confused about what you can do.
New Mexico laws allow grandparent visitation in specific circumstances. Biological and adoptive grandparents and great-grandparents may be able to ask the court for visitation, but step-grandparents don't have this right.
According to the Grandparents Visitation Privileges Act, a biological or adoptive grandparent may petition a New Mexico court for grandchild visitation time if:
- The parents are separated, in the process of getting divorced, or divorced.
- There's a dispute over child paternity.
- One or both of the grandchild’s parents died.
- A child six-years-old or younger lived with the grandparent for at least three months. The child must have been removed from the grandparent’s home by a parent or another person, and the child’s home state must be New Mexico.
- A biological grandchild is being adopted by a stepparent, a relative, a person designated to care for the child in the deceased parent’s will, or a person who sponsored the grandchild at a baptism or confirmation conducted by a religious organization.
Only one of the above circumstances must exist in order for a grandparent to seek court-ordered visitation time with a grandchild. The court considers the following factors when deciding whether grandparent visitation should be ordered:
- Whether the grandparent has any prior convictions for physical, emotional, or sexual abuse or neglect.
- Anything that's relevant to the best interest of the child.
- The prior interaction between the grandparent and grandchild.
- The previous interactions and present relationship between the grandparent and each of the grandchild’s parents.
- The time-sharing and visitation arrangements for the child before the grandparent filed a visitation petition.
- The expected effect the visitation will have on the child.
- Whether the grandparent was a full-time caretaker for the child for a significant amount of time.
If grandparent visitation is allowed, it must be reasonable and not interfere with the child’s education or visitation rights of either parent.
What to Do if You Want to See Your Grandchildren
In the majority of situations, parents retain all rights to decide who spends time with their children. It can be challenging to convince a New Mexico judge to overrule a parent's decision. However, state law recognizes these rights aren't unlimited. The Grandparents Visitation Privileges Act, as outlined above, may grant you the opportunity to see your grandchildren even over their parents’ objections.
Our experienced family law attorneys are ready to help you petition the court and demonstrate how important it is for you and your grandchildren to have an ongoing relationship. We respect your rights as a grandparent, and we want to help you continue to play a crucial role in your grandchildren’s lives. Using the information on this page, reach out to schedule an initial meeting with us. You'll learn more about your rights and the steps to take to maintain a meaningful relationship with your grandchildren.