Protecting Grandparents Rights in Michigan Family Law Matters
To many people, being a grandparent is an even greater joy than being a parent. Do grandparents have any rights to a continued relationship with their grandchildren after a divorce intervenes?
The bond between children and their grandparents are special. Sadly, these bonds are often damaged by divorce. Grandmothers and grandfathers may lose the time they spend with their grandchildren, through no fault of their own.
I have helped many families throughout Oakland, Livingston, Macomb, Lapeer, Genesee and Wayne Counties with the issue of visitation and other legal rights for grandparents. Contact me with your questions about grandparents rights in Michigan. I know how to present your strongest argument for acquiring visitation rights with your grandchildren.
Grandparents Rights in Michigan for Visitation
In Michigan, Grandparent’s rights for visitation with their grandchildren are observed and supported by law. Enacted in January 2005, Michigan legislation allows grandparents the option to seek court-ordered grandparenting time with their grandchildren. However, the conditions where visitation for grandparents may be ordered are restrictive.
Michigan laws give preference to decisions made by fit parents concerning their children. This includes the decision not to allow them to see a grandparent. Therefore, if you are a grandparent seeking visitation rights (grandparenting time), you must prove to the court certain things. You must show evidence that the denial of visitation rights “creates a substantial risk of harm to the child’s mental, physical or emotional health.”
Based on the evidence of proof you show to the court, the court must consider specific factors in order to decide whether it is in the best interest of the child to allow grandparenting time. These factors include, but are not limited to,
- the love, affection and emotional ties between you and the grandchild
- depending on the child’s age and ability to decide, the preference of the child
- your moral fitness
- your mental and physical health
- your willingness to promote a close relationship between the child and the child’s parent
Basically, you may pursue your rights as grandparents to see your grandchildren if:
- an order for the parent’s divorce, legal separation (separate maintenance) or annulment is either pending or has already been entered by the court
- your son or daughter, who is the child’s parent, is deceased
- The parents of the child do not live together, have never been married, and the paternity of the child has been established by a court order
- someone other than the child’s parent has been assigned legal custody by the court, or the child is placed outside of the parent’s home
- you have provided a home for the child (whether there was a custody order or not) during the year prior to seeking grandparenting time
Grandparents Rights in Michigan to Adopt Grandchildren
Michigan law also allows grandparents to adopt a grandchild under certain circumstances, such as the death of a parent. Grandparents may also seek adoption, custody, or legal guardianship of a grandchild when the parent is unfit or unable to care for and raise a child. This type of situation can include teenage pregnancies, mental or physical disabilities, or the imprisonment of the parent.
Talk to a Michigan Grandparents Rights Lawyer
The legal rights of grandparents are a tremendously important, yet complex area of law. When selecting an attorney to protect and fight for your rights as a grandparent, be sure that attorney knows the history of prior legal findings by Michigan courts that might affect your case.
Having served southeast Michigan for over 14 years, I have a deep appreciation for and understanding of family dynamics, and the laws that govern them. Call (248) 340-0900 to arrange your free consultation about grandparents rights in Michigan.