Do grandparents have visitation rights?

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Grandparents Visitation Rights Child Custody

Do grandparents have visitation rights?

The simple answer is “yes, but”. The “but” is due to the limitations under which grandparent visitation can be ordered by a court. Grandparents typically may join an action between the parents, or even start an independent action, for the purpose of obtaining a court order for visitation with grandchildren.

The problem is that the grandparent may have to prove to the court that harm will occur to the grandchild in the absence of visitation. Since it is typically viewed that parents have a fundamental right to the care, custody and management of their child, only a compelling interest would be sufficient to allow a state (via its courts) to interfere with the parent’s right to raise his/her child without such interference. This may be difficult to prove, since the grandparent has the obligation to prove that harm will result to the child’s health and welfare should the court not order the parents to allow visitation with the grandparent. This is a difficult burden of proof to sustain.

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