When can a grandparent seek visitation?
If a grandparent makes a request to see a grandchild and is unreasonably denied visitation by the child’s parent or parents, the law affords the grandparent an opportunity to appear in court and seek a court order mandating that the grandparent be allowed to visit the grandchildren. To curb the harsh effects that such a law has the potential to impose on a parent’s right to freely decide what is in the best interests of a child, the law limits the situations in which a grandparent may seek court-ordered visitation.
A grandparent can request relief if the familial situation falls into one of the following categories:
Where must the action to seek visitation be filed?
When a grandparent meets one of the above standards, he or she can bring an action in the appropriate Michigan Family Court. The action can be filed in one of two places:
What happens next?
The family court will conduct a hearing. Initially, the court will presume that a fit parent’s decision to deny visitation is in the child’s best interests. To over come this presumption, the grandparent must show that the denial of visitation creates harm to the health of the child, either mentally, emotionally, or physically. Then, if the grandparent is able to meet this burden of proof, the court will look at a variety of factors to determine the nature and extent of the visitation to which the grandparent is entitled. Courts will consider the following set of factors:
Following this analysis, the court itself will issue an order or will refer the case to Friends of the Court to make a final determination and resolve any additional disputes through mediation before the matter is finalized. As a caveat, if both of the child’s parents are “fit” and sign an affidavit denying the grandparent’s visitation request, then the court, as a matter of law, will dismiss the action and uphold the denial of visitation.
Quality Legal Representation
For over 20 years Attorney Chatterton has been counseling families and grandparents seeking to obtain visitation rights with their grandchildren. He is aware of the sensitive nature of the situation and works at all time to promote a harmonious resolution that is in the best interests of the child.
Contact the Law Office of Patrick L. Chatterton today to schedule a consultation.
The material provided on this Web site is intended for informational purposes only. OFW Law makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided on this website, including any representations or warranties as to accuracy, timeliness, or completeness.