For the emotional and psychological growth of children, it is important for them to have contact with extended family members such as cousins, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. Such interactions teach a child the value of family, and generally are beneficial. However, when differences between parents arise, one parent sometimes refuses to let his or her parents in law have any contact with the children.
Michigan readers may find it interesting to learn that the Michigan Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a case involving grandparents' rights to see or have visitation with their grandchildren. In this case, following physical abuse allegations the father's parental rights were terminated by the court. The mother sought a divorce from the father, and the father paid child support for his children until he passed away. Following his death, the man's parents asked the court for visitation with their grandchildren. The mother refused.
The mother argued that because the father's parental rights had been terminated, his parents had no standing, meaning they had no legal interest that could be enforced by the court. A trial court judge ruled in favor of the mother but noted that the grandparents were fine individuals, and the matter should be appealed. The appellate court affirmed the lower court decision, again noting that because the father's parental rights had been terminated, they did not have standing.
According to the attorney for the grandparents the question before the court is a matter of law, and not about whether the grandparents are good people. The Michigan Supreme Court will take the case under advisement and issue a written opinion at a later date. Anyone interested in learning more about legal options they may have as grandparents can talk to a family law attorney to get an honest opinion.
Source: Michigan Radio, "Michigan Supreme Court will hear arguments in grandparents' visitation case," Steve Carmody, Jan. 14, 2014