Even though the definition of family is ever-evolving, most families are comprised of uncles, aunts, cousins and grandparents. Generally, having contact with extended family members is good for the emotional and psychological well-being of a child. However, in some cases, due to some dispute between parents and grandparents, the parents may not want their child to have any contact with their grandparents.

In fact, Michigan residents may find it interesting to learn about a 32-year-old woman who is willing to remain in jail rather than having her parents have unsupervised visitation rights with her 7-year-old daughter. The judge presiding over the woman’s case held her in contempt because she refused to let her 7-year-old see her grandparents. The woman believes that it is not in the best interest of her daughter to see her grandparents. The woman’s apprehension stems from allegations of sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior against an adult male family member. However, no charges were filed in that case.

States vary on the issue grandparents’ visitation rights. In general, parental rights trump grandparents’ rights. However, if spending time with grandparents is a positive experience for the child and in the best interest of the child, reasonable visitation rights may be granted. But every case is different.

It is not uncommon, for instance, for divorcing parties with children to prevent their children from seeing their grandparents. Where a child once enjoyed the company of their grandparents, they may all of the sudden have that access denied. In such cases, the grandparents can file a petition in court to see their grandchild or grandchildren. However, it is important understand that in general grandparent visitation rights are limited.

Source: WDAY, “A volatile grandparents rights battle lands a Fargo mother in jail,” Kevin Wallevand, Oct. 16, 2013