Grandparents’ Rights in Massachusetts | What to Know

If you are a grandparent, you know how important it is to spend time with your grandchildren. Unfortunately, in some cases, grandparents struggle to obtain visitation rights. This is especially difficult in the state of Massachusetts, which is fairly strict when it comes to grandparents’ rights. If you are a grandparent struggling with visitation, you will need the help of an experienced and dedicated family law attorney. Read on to learn more about grandparents’ rights in Massachusetts.

How is Custody Determined?

The two main types of custody in Massachusetts are physical and legal custody.

Physical custody: This refers to where the child mainly resides. Often, parents work together to share physical custody. Sometimes they split custody equally, and other times one parent has the child for more time. For the most part, Massachusetts courts believe that a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents and will attempt to establish a shared parenting structure.

Legal custody: This refers to a parent’s legal right to make important decisions in the life of the child. These decisions may include academics, religion, and health care. Normally, legal custody is awarded to both parents.

In rare cases, a parent may be deemed unfit and will lose physical and/or legal custody. This happens if the parent poses some sort of danger to the child, resulting in only one parent having custody of the child. This is referred to as sole custody. If a parent is awarded sole custody, it may be difficult for the non-custodial parent’s family to see the child.

The Harm Standard

In Massachusetts, grandparents must meet the harm standard in order to win visitation. This means that in addition to proving that having a relationship with the grandparents is in the grandchild’s best interest, you must also prove that the grandchild would suffer harm if contact were denied. This can be difficult to prove, and you may need the help of an experienced family law attorney during this process.

If you are a grandparent struggling with visitation rights, contact our firm today. We will advocate for you and walk you through all of your family law matters.

Contact our Firm

For over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided quality legal support and representation for clients in Bristol County and all of Massachusetts. Our firm’s experience eases the stress of clients while providing the legal services they deserve. If you need help through a contested divorce, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.