Do grandparents have legal rights to see their grandchildren in Virginia?


My name is Nora Misenti. I’m an attorney here at Holcomb Law. And a question has been asked as to whether or not grandparents have rights to visitation with their grandchildren? There are no automatic grandparent’s visitation rights in Virginia. Grandparents are however persons with legitimate interest. What that means is a grandparent has a right to file a petition, asking for visitation with their grandchildren. However, to get court ordered visitation, grandparents have to overcome what’s called the parental presumption. That is, the law considers it to be in the best interest of the child to be in the care custody of their parents, ordinarily.

That parental presumption can be overcome in a number of ways. One may be parental unfitness, or if the parents have abandoned the child, or had their parental rights terminated at some point. Those things can help the grandparent or other person with legitimate interests overcome that presumption. However, once that presumption is overcome, the court is still going to consider what is in the best interest of the child at that point. So, if you are in the middle of a custody case involving grandparents or you’re the grandparents and you think you need some assistance with that, or you would like to get more information, please reach out to us here at Holcomb law, and we’d be happy to speak with you.