In general, grandparent rights to their grandchildren are limited. The U.S. Supreme Court in the year 2000 reaffirmed the fundamental right of parents to make all decisions concerning the welfare of their children. The court limited the right of grandparents to interfere with the decisions of the parents only in extraordinary circumstances. Thus, in Louisiana, grandparent rights to their grandchildren are limited. GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS IN LOUISIANA Grandparents have several options if they desire parents to maintain custody of their grandchildren but still want a set schedule of visitation so they can be assured contact with their grandchildren. A grandparent has the right to file suit in court to ask for visitation rights in the following circumstances:
A divorce petition is pending between the mother and father of the grandchildren. A grandparent may intervene in the divorce to ask for visitation with the grandchildren. The grandparent will have to prove extraordinary circumstances exist which make it in the best interest of the grandchild to have visitation. The judge will consider the length and quality of the prior relationship between the grandchild and grandparent, whether the grandparent can uniquely provide guidance and support to the grandchild that the parent cannot, the grandchild’s wishes, and the mental and physical health of the grandparent. Also, the judge will consider the willingness of the grandparent to encourage a good relationship between parent and child; A grandparent may sue for visitation even if there is no pending divorce or if the parents were never married, but lived together; if the grandparent’s child is sentenced to prison, dies or is interdicted. Also, the grandparent may sue for visitation if the parents are married and have lived separately for more than six months. A judge has discretion to grant visitation if the grandparent proves it is in the best interest of the child; A grandparent may sue for visitation rights when their grandchild has been placed in foster care by the state because of abuse or neglect by the parents.