In recent years, the issue of grandparent's rights to visitation in divorce has come to the forefront. Sadly, in divorce, often the primary parent with the majority of parenting time or decision-making cuts off the parents of the other parent, from their grandchildren. This may be especially true if the grandparents and grandchildren live a far distance from each other.
Do I Have Custody Or Visitation Rights As A Grandparent?
Grandparents have limited rights to have court-ordered visitation or custody and the circumstances are fact-specific. However, grandparents only have standing to petition for visitation rights if there has been an unreasonable denial of visitation by a parent and the denial has caused the child undue mental, physical or emotional harm.
Courts acknowledge a parent's fundamental right to raise his or her child and to make decisions concerning the child free from state intervention, absent a threat to the child's health and safety. Court-ordered grandparent visitation can be considered improper interference by the state in a parent's fundamental right to raise a child.
Under certain circumstances, however, grandparents have been awarded custody, visitation or guardianship of grandchildren when parents are unable or unfit to take care of a child. Requirements in each of these circumstances are very fact-specific and cannot be approached lightly.
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