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What rights do Michigan grandparents have?

Most people in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, presume that child custody issues tend to be between the father and the mother. That is true, but other relatives of the children are also interested in pursuing time with them.

Can grandparents get visitation?

Sometimes relatives pursue time with the children legally. Grandparents who do so may be formally awarded visitation. New laws governing visitation for them, often called grandparenting time, were passed in 2005. The new laws were passed because previous laws were declared unconstitutional.

What are the circumstances in which grandparents can get visitation?

When the parents of the children are divorced or separated, or their marriage has been or is in the process of being annulled, the new laws permit courts to award visitation to grandparents. Visitation may also be awarded to grandparents if one of the parents of the children is deceased, or if the parents are both living but were never married. There are conditions that apply to paternal grandparents seeking visitation in the case of never married parents, such as paternity having been established and the father having been substantially and regularly involved in the care of the children.

What if the children are with a third party?

Grandparents may even seek visitation when their grandchildren have been placed with a third party. However, that typically does not apply if the grandchildren have been adopted by a third party. Even in those cases, however, grandparents may be able to secure visitation if the third party is a stepparent and the grandparents own daughter or son, who was a parent of the children, is deceased.

What if the parents don't want their children to spend time with the grandparents?

Of course, there are cases where the parents of the children don't want the grandparents to be around their children. In those cases, grandparents may have to prove that a denial of visitation time for them would pose a substantial risk of harm for the children. This harm standard is considered difficult to meet. Additionally, if two fit parents object to their children spending time with the grandparents, the courts will refuse to grant visitation unless very strict criteria are met. Because of the strict legal standards involved, parents and grandparents facing these issues will want to secure experienced legal representation.

Source: The Spruce, "Michigan Grandparents' Rights," Susan Adcox, accessed June 30, 2017

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