ourUnder Washington law, grandparents do not have legal custody or visitation
rights to their grandchildren. This was not always the case – Washington
once had a statute which permitted a grandparent or any other person to
petition for visitation of a child if the child’s parents were going
through a divorce. However, on April 5, 2005, the Washington Supreme Court
ruled that the law was unconstitutional because it infringed upon the
rights that parents have over care, custody, and control of their children.
As a result, grandparents cannot establish visitation with a grandchild
in Washington State.
However, grandparents may establish custody of a grandchild through a non-parental
custody action if the child is not in the custody of the parents, or if
the parents are unfit. More information about non-parental custody is
provided in our
Non-Parental Visitation article.
If you are ready to consult with a legal professional from our law firm,
please contact our office today.