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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, June 30, 2017

Our Son Is Going Through a Bitter Divorce and We Are Afraid of Not Seeing Our Grandchildren - What Are Grandparents’ Rights in Michigan?

Nobody wants to see a marriage end, especially when the relationship is beyond repair and children are involved. Grandparents occupy a unique space during a divorce, serving as a supportive and loving place for children and grandchildren alike. In some cases though, one divorcing spouse may exercise such control over the children that grandparents may fear losing touch with their grandchildren. In these cases, it is helpful to discuss the situation with an experienced grandparents rights lawyer to better understand your rights and options.

Grandparent Visitation Rights

Losing the ability to spend time with your grandchildren following a divorce can be heartbreaking. But, while courts typically give parents broad discretion to determine who their children see or don’t see, grandparents do have the right to seek court-ordered time with their grandchildren. Of course, restrictions on this right do apply.

In order to obtain visitation rights, you must show that denying grandparenting time presents a significant risk of harm to the emotional, physical and mental health of the grandchild. The court will look to a number of factors in deciding whether granting grandparenting time is in the best interests of the child. Things that the court may consider include:

  • the child’s preferences
  • your relationship with the child
  • your mental health and moral fitness
  • whether you will foster a close relationship between the child and the parent
  • your physical health

Additionally, certain factors must be shown in order for you to have the right to pursue visitation with the grandchild. To pursue court ordered visitation one or more of the following must be true:

  • there must be a divorce, legal separation or annulment case in process with the court
  • your son or daughter must be deceased
  • someone other than the parents have been granted legal custody over the child
  • the parents are not married, do not live together and paternity has been established via court order
  • you have had custody of the child during the past year, whether formally or informally

Basically, it is up to the grandparent to overcome the presumption that a fit parent does not want the grandparents to have visitation rights.

How To Obtain Visitation

If you believe that all requirements are satisfied to seek court ordered visitation, you must file a motion with the court. The court will hold a hearing to determine whether the parents are fit to make the decision to withhold visitation from the grandparents. If that determination is made in the affirmative, then you have the burden to prove that the child will be harmed by not seeing you.

Can Grandparents Adopt Grandchildren in Michigan?

In some cases, having the grandparents adopt a grandchild is in the best interests of everyone involved. If one or both parents are deceased, or it one or both parents are unfit or unable to care their children, then grandparent adoption may be possible. This is often the case in teenage pregnancies, the parent is in prison or the parents are mentally or physically disabled.

Talk to Michigan grandparent’s rights attorney Cameron C. Goulding today at 248.608.4123 to determine whether you may be able to fight for visitation or adoption of your grandchildren.


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| Phone: 248.608.4123

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