New Mexico recognizes the important role that grandparents play in the lives of their grandchildren. However, according to New Mexico law, as well as US Supreme Court decisions, grandparents don’t have rights. Instead, our statutory framework creates grandparents visitation privileges.
In analyzing whether a grandparent can enjoy visitation with a grandchild several important factors should be considered. First, is the grandchild living with the grandparent? If the grandchild was living with the grandparent for a period of 90 days preceding the filing of the case then the grandparent may want to consider a Kinship Guardianship as opposed to visitation. This is because Kinship Guardianship could give the grandparent greater rights to custody and control instead of just visitation.
Assuming that visitation is relevant, then there are specific statutes in New Mexico that outline how the case should proceed. New Mexico recognizes the parental rights doctrine. This doctrine means that any third party that is trying to obtain custody rights over a nonbiological child the law should give deference to the wishes of the biological parent.
Conversely, however, New Mexico courts have interpreted this to mean that a child is NOT a trophy to be moved back and forth and if there is compelling evidence as to why a child should be with a third party then the courts will consider such placement. This impacts on grandparents visitation simply by the fact that the desires and wishes of a parent are usually honored unless there is a compelling reason for the state in the form of the court to overturn a decision of a biological parent. Grandparents visitation can only be raised in certain circumstances.
Ultimately, the key question is whether visitation with a grandparent is in the best interests of the child. Grandparents visitation can be very tricky and that is why you need the help of experienced experts in this area. You can contact our grandparents visitation experts at info@JusticeLegalGroup.com or by calling us throughout New Mexico at 505-880-8737.