NH Law About... Grandparent Visitation

Introduction to... Grandparent Visitation

Updated February 22, 2017.

The Read About section of this guide refers to resources about the law and will provide context and key terms. Read the Law links to selected laws and should be used as a jumping off point for further research.

Please remember that this guide is for information purposes only and is not comprehensive. It is intended as a starting point for research, to illustrate the various sources of the law, and to provide guidance in their use. NH Law About ...  is not a substitute for the services of an attorney.

Read about... Grandparent Visitation


New Hampshire Legal Aid. Grandparents' Visitation Rights in a New Hampshire Divorce

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

In New Hampshire, there are several circumstances in which courts may award grandparents visitation rights.   GO>

New Hampshire Bar Association. New Hampshire Bar News. Family Law: Raising Grandchildren: A Reexamination of the Grandparents Visitation Statute. (November 15, 2013)

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

Pursuant to RSA 461-A:13, grandparents may petition for visitation with their grandchildren, if there is an absence of a nuclear family, whether by divorce, death, termination of parental rights or otherwise.   GO>


A practical guide to divorce in New Hampshire / editor, Jeanmarie Papelian ; marital masters, Robert J. Foley ... [et al.] ; authors, Michael L. Alfano ... [et al.]. Boston, MA : MCLE Ne  GO>

Link verified on: April 6, 2018

Family law / by Charles G. Douglas. New Providence, N.J. : LexisNexis, 2014. 4th ed.   GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

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Read the law about... Grandparent Visitation


RSA 458-A. Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA)  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

RSA 460. Husband and Wife  GO>

Link verified on: February 23, 2017

RSA 461-A. Parental Rights and Responsibilities  GO>

Link verified on: March 23, 2017

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Revised Statutes Annotated

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

Find the New Hampshire statutes in print at libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Statutes: New Hampshire statutes are the laws of the State of New Hampshire as enacted by the New Hampshire General Court. GO>


158 N.H. 784 (2009). In re Dufton

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

[A] grandparent may petition for visitation only if the grandchild's nuclear family is absent for some reason, which includes, but is not limited to "divorce, death, relinquishment or termination of parental rights" and only if the grandparent's access to the grandchild has not been restricted for any reason before or contemporaneously with the event giving rise to the absence of a nuclear family.   GO>

161 N.H. 311 (2010). In re Rupa

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

The authority of the trial court to grant grandparent visitation is derived from RSA 461-A:6, the statute relating to parental rights and responsibilities. The overarching standard for determining parental rights and responsibilities is set forth in section I, which provides "In determining parental rights and responsibilities, the court shall be guided by the best interests of the child." RSA 461-A:6, I (Supp.2009). In keeping with this standard, section V provides, in relevant part: If the court determines that it is in the best interest of the child, it shall in its decree grant reasonable visitation privileges to a party who is a grandparent of the child pursuant to RSA 461-A:13. Thus, the legislature has made clear that the best interests of the child are paramount when the court considers an award of grandparent visitation.   GO>

163 N.H. 107 (2011). In re Guardianship of Reena D.

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

We have adopted the Troxel plurality's ruling that "fit parents are presumed to act in the best interest of their children." We have explained that Part I, Article 2 of the State Constitution protects a parent's fundamental liberty interest in raising and caring for her children. Provided that a parent is fit, "there will normally be no reason for the State to inject itself into the private realm of the family to further question the ability of that parent to make the best decisions concerning the rearing of that parent's children." Thus, "[o]nly in the most unusual and serious of cases" may a parent's fundamental parental rights "be abrogated in favor of an unrelated third person." Absent such "unusual and serious" circumstances, "[p]arents have a natural entitlement to the exclusive companionship, care, custody, and management of their children."   GO>

168 N.H. 629 (2016). Petition of Lundquist

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

Under this provision, [RSA 461–A:13, I] “standing to seek visitation vests in a grandparent, whether natural or adoptive, whenever a grandchild's family is the subject of one of the enumerated conditions listed at the end of the second sentence unless the grandparent's access to the grandchild has been earlier, or contemporaneously, restricted.   GO>

Find it in a Library ... New Hampshire Reports

Link verified on: May 18, 2018

Find the New Hampshire Reports in libraries throughout the state.   GO>

Learn About New Hampshire Cases: New Hampshire case law consists of the published opinions of the New Hampshire Supreme Court. GO>


Circuit Court. Family Division. Rules  GO>

Link verified on: May 17, 2018

Learn About New Hampshire Court Rules: Follow this link to learn how to search court rules online as well as what court rules are and how they're published. GO>


NHJB 2077-F Personal Data Sheet  GO>

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

NHJB 2201-DFP Generic Motion Form  GO>

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

NHJB 2228-F Petition for Grandparent Visitation  GO>

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

NHJB 2656-DFP Extra Page for Petitions (or UCCJEA Affidavits)  GO>

Link verified on: February 22, 2017


580 U.S. 57. Troxel v. Granville

Link verified on: February 22, 2017

The Fourteenth Amendment provides that no State shall “deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” We have long recognized that the Amendment’s Due Process Clause, like its Fifth Amendment counterpart, guarantees more than fair process. The Clause also includes a substantive component that provides heightened protection against government interference with certain fundamental rights and liberty interests. The liberty interest at issue in this case–the interest of parents in the care, custody, and control of their children–is perhaps the oldest of the fundamental liberty interests recognized by this Court. More than 75 years ago, we held that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause includes the right of parents to establish a home and bring up children and to control the education of their own.   GO>


Find Your Court

Link verified on: July 21, 2017

Search for your court alphabetically by town or click on the links to the specific courts.   GO>

New Hampshire Law Library

Link verified on: June 29, 2018

The state's only public law library. Call, email, or visit, we'll be happy to help.   GO>

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