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New Mexico Grandparents Rights

Adoption Does Not Always Terminate Grandparents Rights

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In New Mexico, grandparents may be awarded visitation during or following a court proceeding pertaining to paternity, legal separation, or dissolution of a marriage. Grandparent visitation must not conflict with the child's education, prior established visitation or time-sharing privileges. If either or both parents are deceased, any grandparent of the child may petition for visitation privileges. In addition, grandparents may petition for visitation with a grandchild who once resided with the grandparent for a prescribed length of time. For children who were less than six years old at the beginning of the residence, a period of three months or more is required. For children who were more than six years old at the beginning of the residence, a period of six months or more is required.

New Mexico statutes list items to be considered in a petition for grandparent visitation. These include the following:

  • Factors relevant to the best interests of the child
  • Prior grandparent-child interaction
  • Prior interaction between the grandparent and each parent of the child
  • The present relationship between the grandparent and each parent of the child
  • Any time-sharing or visitation arrangements already in place
  • The effect the visitation will have on the child
  • If the grandparent has any prior convictions for physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect
  • If the grandparent has been the child's full-time caretaker for a significant period.

The court may order mediation or evaluation if it is deemed advisable. If the court decides against visitation, it may order other grandparent-grandchild contact, including regular communication by phone, mail or "other reasonable means."

Adoption does not always terminate visitation rights in New Mexico. Biological grandparents may petition for visitation if the adopting party is a stepparent, a relative, a person designated in a deceased parent's will or a person sponsoring the child in baptism or confirmation ceremonies.

See New Mexico Statutes. Search for "grandparent visitation" or look for Section 40, Article 9.

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