Parental rights versus grandparents’ rights at issue

Parental rights versus grandparents’ rights at issue

It is important for children of divorce to have a healthy relationship with not only their parents but also with extended family members such as grandparents. In certain cases, however, the acrimony surrounding divorce may lead one parent, or both parents, to deny grandparents the ability to see their grandchildren. In general, family law and grandparent visitation rights vary from state to state.

Michigan residents may find it interesting to learn that recently, despite objections from the parents, a family law judge in another northern state has allowed a 16-year old girl to visit her grandparents at any time. The grandparents’ visitation dispute began last year when the 16-year old’s grandparents filed a lawsuit against their son. The lawsuit specifically sought visitation time with their three grandchildren. The grandparents alleged that they had not seen their grandchildren since 2011 after their son believed that they had turned him into the authorities for a drug offense.

In this case, the judge allowed at least the 16-year old to visit her grandparents as she wishes. The parents allege that this will interfere with their parent-child relationship and gives the 16-year old absolute and total control over when she can visit her grandparents.

In general, grandparents’ visitation rights are limited. In Michigan, however, grandparents can seek grandparenting time with their grandchildren under certain circumstances. Some of these circumstances include a pending action for divorce before the court, in the case of divorced parents, a deceased parent or in some other circumstances. Families engaged a dispute over grandparents’ visitation may wish to contact an experienced family law attorney to evaluate available legal options.

Source: The Dickinson Press, “Attorney says parents’ rights being edged out by grandparents’ in wake of unusual ruling,” Emily Welker, Sept. 8, 2013

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