Child Custody for Grandparents -  Grandparents Rights, Child Custody for Grandparents, Grandparent Visitation Rights, Grandparents Winning Custody, Grandparent Rights, Grandparent Laws
Child Custody Grandparents, Grandparents Rights, Grandparent Visitation Rights, Grandparents Rights to Custody

Child Custody Grandparents

Child Custody Grandparents - Grandparents Rights and Grandparent Visitation
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More Grandparents are Winning Child Custody Rights in the Family Court

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Why are More Grandparents Winning Custody and Obtaining Visitation Rights?

The United States Supreme Court, while passing the judgement over Troxel v Granville trial, made a landmark decision concerned with the child custody visitation rights of grandparents. According to the decision taken by the Supreme Court in this grandparent rights and grandparent visitation case, it is the fundamental right of the parent to care for the children and have control of their children. This affirmed that the parents have a 14th Amendment fundamental right to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and management of their children. At the same time, the Supreme Court in Troxel v. Granville stated that no law can set standards for visitation rights of grandparents. They must be applied on a case-by-case basis. The court declared the non-parent visitation statute of Washington as unconstitutional infringement of parents’ rights, and it advised the parents to have a liberal attitude and work towards developing a bonding between the grandparents and their grandchildren. The court acknowledged the parental role was being taken over by grandparents in many families.

After the decision taken by the US Supreme Court in Troxel case, grandparents’ visitation rights are being determined based on the best interests of the grandchildren. All 50 states in the United States have statutes for grandparent visitation rights. Although many scholars feel that there would be a lesser impact of the decision taken in the Troxel case, the state courts have a different opinion. According to them, as constitutional challenges for confrontation of the third-party visitation rights statutes increases, more number of statutes will be declared unconstitutional. There is no legal uniformity pertaining to grandparent visitation rights in the US considering all the exceptions that can arise. According to the statutes, in cases of troubled family situations, the courts must legally permit the grandparents to continue their loving relation with their grandchildren. Factors such as the relationship between the child and the grandparent, and the nature of parents’ objection determine the grandparent visitation rights and child custody for grandparents.

Today, all states have grandparents rights statues authorizing a court to award visitation to a grandparent under certain circumstances. For example, California requires two prerequisite findings before granting visitation rights to a grandparent. First, there must be a preexisting relationship and bond between the grandparent and the grandchild and second, the requested visitation must be in the best interest of the child. If the prerequisites are found, the court must also balance the interest of the child in having visitation with the grandparent against the right of the parents to exercise their parental authority. Family Code § 3103 (a) (2).

In contrast to California, Virginia has a broader law allowing grandparents to petition the court for visitation even when the parents and children are in an intact home. Virginia's Supreme Court rejected a challenge to its third party visitation law, on the grounds that it interfered with a parent's constitutional right to autonomy in child rearing. The court held that the statute would be constitutional even as applied to intact families if visitation were ordered even over the objection of a parent on a showing that the child would be harmed without such visitation (Williams vs. Williams).

However, Virginia is in the minority. Most state courts do not permit a grandparent to petition the court for grandparent visitation rights if the family is still intact. The intent is to preserve the parents constitutional right of privacy and autonomy in child rearing. For example, Illinois recently upheld the constitutionality of its grandparent visitation law which allows an award only when the family is not intact. The statue allowing grandparent visitation only for non-intact families was not a violation of the equal protection clause of the constitution. West vs. West (1998) 689 N.E. 2d 1215.

How are More Grandparents Winning Custody and Visitation Rights?

Not only are more grandparents taking on the responsibility of their grandchildren, but more grandparents are petitioning the court for visitation rights and winning visitation rights and/or custody of their grandchildren. Further, more grandparents are becoming educated with strategies and information on How to Win Child Custody and how other grandparents are winning custody and visitation rights in the family courts.

If you are a concerned grandparent seeking information and strategies on How to Win Child Custody, or if you are a grandparent in search of information to help your son or daughter obtain custody of their child, you would do well to get yourself and/or your son or daughter the book How to Win Child Custody written by The Custody Coach™. It will be an excellent resource for you!

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