Another situation where grandparents can prevail, and in some circumstances even establish rights equal to the parents, is if the grandparent becomes what is known as the “psychological parent” to the child. In other words – if the grandparent effectively becomes another parent to the child. This only occurs in situations where a grandparent has been given custody of a child for an extended period of time. This oftentimes happens when parents are incapable of parenting due to drug addiction or medical infirmity for a substantial period of time and the grandparents step in. If a grandparent can meet the requirements of New Jersey law to be deemed a psychological parent, legally they stand as equals to the actual parents. Even if the actual parent regains custody of the child, that grandparent still has legal rights including the right of visitation.
Litigation of grandparents’ rights cases requires an attorney who is intimately familiar with New Jersey law and who has experience in New Jersey’s family courts. At Morgenstern and Rochester, we have experience in handling grandparent visitation cases both in family court and in New Jersey’s appellate courts. If you are a grandparent and have questions about what your rights are, or if you are a parent who has concerns about the role of grandparents in your children’s lives, contact our firm and schedule a consultation and we will assist you through this complicated area of New Jersey family law.