As a grandparent, do I have any legal visitation rights?

Not inherently. This can be complicated because in Virginia there isn’t a specific statute concerning grandparents’ rights. The custody and visitation statutes refer to parents and “persons with a legitimate interest”, which can include grandparents, step-grandparents, stepparents, former stepparents, blood relatives and family members.  The courts must consider what is in the best interest of the children and as between parents, the court will apply the ten factors in Va. Code Sec. 20-124.3 to determine visitation rights.  Parents trump grandparents, however, and if both parents are against grandparent visitation, then the grandparents have to show more than best interests of the children – they have to show actual harm would come to the children absent them having visitation.  If one parent is for the grandparent visitation, however, then the court uses the usual best interests’ standard.  

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC