Because relationships between family members are emotional and complicated, grandparents can often find themselves in a position where they are being denied contact with their grandchild by one, or both, of the grandchild’s parents.
In New Mexico, grandparents do not have an absolute right to time-sharing or visitation with their grandchildren. However, in some situations, grandparents may petition the Court for visitation under the Grandparent Visitation Privileges Act.
There are three basic situations in which a grandparent may petition for visitation: 1) during any divorce proceeding, legal separation or paternity case involving their grandchild; 2) upon the death of the grandchild’s parent; and 3) when a grandchild has lived primarily with the grandparent for a certain period of time.
If the grandchild is under the age of six, the grandparent can petition for visitation if the grandchild has resided with the grandparent for a period of three or more months. If this grandchild is over the age of six, then the grandchild must reside with the grandparent for a period of six or more months in order to support a grandparent’s petition for visitation.
Further, if a child has lived with the grandparent, without supervision by the parents, for more than ninety days, a grandparent may be able to petition to be appointed as the child’s legal guardian under the Kinship-Guardianship Act.