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Grandparent Visitation In Michigan

Most grandparents are excited to have any time where they can enjoy being with their grandchildren. There is nothing like the joy of seeing young children grow and learn, make discoveries about the world, and share their insights with the adults around them. Interactions from time spent with the grandchildren can contribute to a happy relationship between grandparents and their grandkids.

Unfortunately, personal relationships with the grandchildren’s parents sometimes interfere with those opportunities to build happy memories as the grandchild grows. The law in Michigan says that parents are primarily responsible for making decisions about their children, including whom they will spend time with, even among close family members like grandparents.

Parents Have Preference

The law in Michigan and the country generally recognizes that fit parents have the final say in all big decisions about their child’s life. Cases from the US Supreme Court have recognized the parent’s authority to oversee their children and make all important decisions for their lives. Likewise, Supreme Court cases have held that grandparents have no constitutional or other legal claims to have visitation time with their grandchildren.

The result of these laws and court decisions is that the parents of the child decide on whom they will visit and spend time with, and if the parents decide that the grandparent is not permitted to have such time, that decision is usually final. Michigan does have procedures in law that allow a grandparent to seek a court order of visitation time, but it is generally a challenge to prove all the elements of the law in court to win such an order.

Michigan Grandparent Visitation

The first requirement in considering whether grandparents might have visitation rights recognized by law is that the grandchild’s family is not together. Whether divorced, separated, or never married, if the grandchild’s parents are not in a family unit, the door is open for a grandparent to go to court to request visitation rights. The next step in making the case in court for grandparent visitation time is that the request to spend time with the grandparents is in the child’s best interest. Every issue before a family court relating to children comes back to this essential legal guideline: is it in the child’s best interests?

Another factor courts will consider is the status of the grandchild’s relationship with their parents. If one parent has passed away, and the grandparent’s child has died, a court will consider this fact in weighing the grandparent’s rights to visitation. Generally, when a parent has died, the grandparent will have a preference in the law to receive a regular visitation schedule with the grandchild.

Other Factors To Consider

When the grandchild’s parents are both living, the court considers other factors beyond the grandparent’s desire for visitation time and the grandchild’s best interests. The geographic distance between where the grandchild lives and the grandparent’s home can be a factor, as well as the wishes and desires of the grandchild if they are old enough to express a preference. The grandparent must usually show that they have had a positive, loving relationship with the child and that it is now interrupted, whether due to distance between where they live or parental interference in the relationship. The court will assess the reasons behind the request, weigh the best interests and desires of the child, and consider the parents’ opinions on the matter in making a decision.

Make Your Case

The best way for a grandparent to gain visitation rights with their grandchild is usually to be cooperative. If the grandchild’s parents are going through a divorce and custody case, a grandparent with good relations with their child can insert their request for visitation time into the parental custody hearing. A grandparent on good terms with their child can often arrange to share visitation time with the custodial parent, who is the grandparent’s child. A grandparent always has an interest in showing their positive, loving, and beneficial influence on their grandchild’s life in their attempt to convince the court that grandparent visitation is in the grandchild’s best interest.

Legal Assistance With Legal Challenges

The skilled family law attorneys at The Law Offices of Ravi R. Gurumurthy, PLC have experience helping parents and kids get the best results from custody hearings and court orders. Grandparent visitation rights in Michigan are not given the same legal protection that parental rights receive, but there are means available to convince courts that a grandparent will be a beneficial influence and that it is in the grandchild’s best interests to allow them to spend time with their grandparent. Call today at 231-577-1580 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation and get answers for your case.


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