Q: Do grandparents have a right to visitation time with grandkids?
Grandparents: all the fun spoiling without the hard, parental stuff. Grandparenting has been called the reward for surviving your own kid's teenage years.
The bond between grandparents and their grandchildren is strong and special in most cases. At the end of one visit, both are already missing each other and looking forward to being together again. In today's economic climate, many grandparents babysit their grandchildren while their own children are working.
But what happens when the grandchildren's parents get a divorce and one or both sets of grandparents are kept away from the grandchildren? Sadly, this is common.
What can a grandparent do when the grandchildren's parents deny them access?
Although the courts in Michigan do recognize grandparents' rights to visitation with their grandchildren, it also believes that fit parents should make decisions on behalf of their own children – including the decision not to allow them to see a grandparent.
Pursuing grandparents' rights to visitation
Generally, you can pursue grandparents' rights to visitation with your grandchildren if:
- “an order for the parents' divorce, legal separation or annulment is either pending has already been entered;
- 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 a child is placed outside of the parents' 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.”
While most grandparents' hearts are in the right place when considering petitioning the court for grandparent visitation rights, the decision should not be entered into lightly. Seeking court intervention may create a more stressful situation in the child's home environment, cost both the parents and the grandparents money in legal fees, force friends, family, and the grandchildren to submit to questioning regarding family history and dynamics and/or to submit to psychological evaluations. The whole process can be stressful for the grandchildren who are already likely dealing with other significant disruptions in their daily lives.
If you have questions regarding pursuing grandparents' rights for visitation or have any other family law questions, the experienced attorneys at Cameron C. Goulding Family Law and Mediation, P.L.C. can help you. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
From our office in Rochester Hills, Michigan, we provide experienced, one-on-one legal services to families throughout Oakland, Macomb, Genesee, Livingston, Lapeer and Wayne Counties. It's all we do.