Grandparents play an important role in children’s lives, but that role is not always legally protected. Generally, Michigan law gives parents broad authority to determine whether or not grandparents have access to their grandchildren. That means that in most cases, a grandparent may be prevented from seeing his or her grandchild for no reason other than that the parents made that decision.
We understand how difficult it can be to be separated from grandchildren you love, particularly if you know the children want to see you or you are concerned about their welfare. In the limited circumstances under which Michigan law allows grandparents some recourse, we are happy to help.
Access to Grandchildren
While access to grandchildren is typically at the parents’ discretion, there are exceptions. The best way to determine whether your situation falls within one of those exceptions and you may be able to establish visitation rights is to talk with an experienced family law attorney. Attorney Tara L. Sharp will take the time to listen to your story and ask the questions that will help her determine whether you are likely to be granted grandparent visitation.
When Can Grandparents Win Visitation in Michigan?
Some of the limited circumstances in which a grandparent may be awarded visitation over the objection of the child’s parent or parents include:
- When the parent who is the grandparent’s child is deceased
- When one or both parents have been deemed unfit to care for the children
- When a parent is incarcerated
In most cases, though, the law is squarely on the side of the parent. Michigan law creates a presumption that it is not harmful to the child for a fit parent to deny access to grandparents, and an affidavit from both fit parents is generally sufficient to trigger dismissal of a grandparent’s petition for visitation.
Other Options for Grandparents
In rare circumstances such as when the grandchildren’s parents are unavailable to care for the children or have been deemed unfit, a grandparent may be able to petition for guardianship of the child. If the parents’ parental rights have been terminated, it may even be possible for the grandparent to adopt the children.
Protecting Your Family
We know that your relationship with your grandchildren is much more than a legal issue to you. While grandparents’ rights are difficult to establish and in many cases unavailable, we are happy to assess your case and help you determine what options may be available to you.
Call 269-978-6560 today to schedule a free consultation.