What happens when a child’s grandparents want to visit the child, but the child’s parents want the grandparents to stay away? This is currently an unclear area of the law concerning child custody and visitation.
A recent case in Alabama illustrates the problem. Alabama, like all other states, has a grandparent visitation law, which lets a judge require that grandparents have regular contact with their grandchildren.
In this particular case, a nuclear family consisting of a mother, father and two daughters had been close to the children’s paternal grandparents. After getting into a business dispute, however, the parents cut off contact with the grandparents and refused to let them visit the girls.
The heartbroken grandparents put up signs declaring their love for their granddaughters along the route the girls traveled to school, and they tried to see their granddaughters by going to public events the girls attended.
The grandparents eventually sued under the state’s grandparent visitation law, and the trial judge ruled in their favor, giving the grandparents visitation rights for several hours once a week and the right to speak to them on the phone every day.
The parents appealed, and the case worked its way up the courts. The Alabama Supreme Court, however, not only ruled in favor of the parents in this case, but it also struck down the grandparent visitation law itself, saying it violated the due process rights of parents.
The grandparents’ lawyers subsequently petitioned the United States Supreme Court to hear the case, but the High Court ultimately declined, leaving the legal question of grandparents visitation unanswered for the near future.
Stay tuned for updates from our Ft. Worth family law blog …
To learn more about child custody, visitation, parental rights or grandparents’ rights, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.
This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.
The Christian Science Monitor, “Do grandparents get visitation rights? Supreme court declines case” Feb. 21, 2012