Author(s): Ann Stuursma, Tara Velting

There are six different situations under which a grandparent may be entitled to grandparenting time, or visitation with their grandchildren. One such situation, and a common scenario, is when there is a divorce pending between the childs parents, or a divorce has already been completed. Another is when a childs parent has died. There are many situations in which grandparents have a right to spend time with their grandchildren.

There is one situation under which grandparenting time will not be allowed. if two tit parents sign an affidavit opposing any grandparenting time, the Court must dismiss any complaint or motion asking for grandparenting time.

A grandparent requesting grandparenting time must prove that the parents decision to deny time creates a substantial risk of harm to the chi|d’s mental, physical, or emotional health. The Court will then consider ten factors in determining whether it is in the best interests of the child to order grandparenting time. This statute, amended in 2004 to comply with a previous U.S. Supreme Court decision, was a victory for grandparents and their advocates. It remains a very useful tool today for grandparents who are being denied time with their grandchildren.

For more information, contact Ann Stuursma and Tara Velting.