What are grandparent’s rights?

What are grandparent’s rights?

Share
What are grandparent's rights?

WHAT ARE GRANDPARENTS RIGHTS?
Grandparents rights is essentially a term that means a grandparent's rights to visitation or custody of their grandchild.  This issue comes up most often up on the death of the grandparent's child or the finding of child abuse by the parents of the grandchild. 
DO THEY EXIST?
As with any other law pertaining to the family and domestic relations the issue of grandparent's rights is a state issue and differs across the country.  That being understood there is generally no right associated with being a grandparent.  As far as the law is concerned grandparents are treated almost like strangers to the grandchild and visitation and custody can be limited by the parent for essentially any reason.
All States generally allow grandparents to have visitation rights subject to the requirement that the visitation be in the best interest of the grandchild and the grandparent must prove that the visitation will neither be harmful or abusive to the child.
WHEN DOES THE ISSUE OF GRANPARENTS RIGHTS COME UP?
Generally the subject of grandparent's rights comes into effect when the parent of a child dies and the parents of that parent seek to continue to visit their grandchild.  For example, Harold and Wilma are married and have one child, Pam.  A year after Pam's birth Wilma dies in a car accident.  Subsequently Wilma's parents wish to continue visiting Pam against the wishes of Harold. 
States differ in their interpretation of grandparent's rights from the more lenient to the stringent.  States such as Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho and Maryland permit a grandparent to go to court to enforce their visitation rights if that visitation right is in the best interest of the child.  Other more stringent jurisdictions require a grandparent to prove that they have had absolutely no visitations with the grandchild before they may proceed with legal action.
If the case goes to court States differ in the burden of proof required.  Some States, such as Florida and Minnesota, require that the grandparents prove that they have some kind of parent-child relationship with the grandparent which essentially means that the grandparent provides some kind of caregiver type status.  In other States the burden is on the parent to show that the grandparent's involvement would interfere with the parent-child relationship.
CASE LAW PERTAINING TO GRANDPARENTS RIGHT?
TROXEL V. GRANVILLE
The quintessential modern case involving grandparent's rights is Troxell v. Granville 530 U.S. 57, 120 S.Ct. 2054, 147 L. Ed. 2d 49, 2000 U.S.
BACKGROUND
The parents, Tommie Granville and Brad Troxel, were never married and had two children.  During that time the grandparents had visitation through their son, Brad.  Upon Brad's suicide Tommie began to scale back the paternal grandparent's visitation rights until she would only permit them to see their granddaughters one time per month.  The grandparents sued in court for extensive visitation rights including two weeks per year during the summer.  The Superior Court of the State of Washington found in favor of the grandparents and Tommie Granville appealed.
HOLDING
After an initial appeal the case went all the way to the Supreme Court where the Justices found that the Due Process Clause of the XIV Amendment would be infringed if a parent were limited to his/her right to grant or deny visitation.  The Court also found that the standard of "best interest of the child" was detrimentally overbroad and thus unconstitutional.  In closing, it has been found that forcing a parent to give visitation to a grandparent would put a substantial burden on the traditional parent-child relationship.

Comments

comments

Share

Related Articles

Read previous post:
Gay Marriage Rights

Close