Grandparents' Rights To Visitation

Are You Entitled To Grandparenting Time Under Michigan Law?

When the parents of a child split up or when one parent dies, grandparents often get cut off from their grandchildren. This is heartbreaking for grandparents, especially those who have formed a special bond and played a prominent role in the grandchild's life.

Michigan law does not recognize an automatic right to visitation with your grandkids. But the courts will grant grandparenting time under certain criteria when it serves the child's best interests.

The Law Offices of Harris & Literski can determine where you stand and assert your grandparents' rights if you have been denied access. We understand how important it is to you (and to your grandchildren) to continue the relationship. Our experienced family law attorneys will strongly assert your interests in this sensitive situation.

Petitioning For Grandparent Visitation

Grandparents can seek a court order for grandparenting time under any of the following scenarios:

  • The child's parent is deceased.
  • The parents are divorced or separated.
  • There is a pending divorce or separation action before the court.
  • The child's parents never married, but paternity has been established.
  • Someone other than the child's parents has been awarded custody.
  • The grandparents provided a custodial environment for the child in the past year.

The law and the courts give great weight to the autonomy of the child's parents. If two fit parents oppose the order in a signed affidavit, the court must dismiss the grandparents' petition.

More commonly, one parent opposes grandparent visitation after a spouse's death, or in the context of a divorce or paternity case. The law presumes that a fit parent can choose to deny grandparent access without substantial harm to the child. Our lawyers can help you overcome this presumption to show that the child's mental, physical or emotional health is jeopardized by terminating the grandparent relationship and being isolated from the extended family.

What Happens When The Court Gets Involved?

Upon receiving and reviewing the petition, the court may require the parties to engage in alternative dispute resolution (mediation) to reach a workable arrangement. We can help you negotiate the ground rules and details of scheduled grandparenting time.

If this process does not yield an agreement, the case will go to a family court hearing for a judge's ruling. The court must consider a number of statutory factors, including:

— Emotional ties between the child and grandparent
— Length and quality of the relationship
— The role performed by the grandparent
— The reasonable preference of the child (if deemed old enough)
— Physical and mental health of the grandparent
— The grandparent's moral fitness and any prior child abuse
— The effect on the child of hostility between the adults
— Whether the grandparent would foster or undermine the parent-child relationship
— Whether the child's parent denied access for the child's well-being or for capricious, self-serving or vindictive reasons

Experienced Family Law Attorneys

We will give you our honest legal opinion and do everything we can to help you resume a regular and meaningful connection with your grandchildren. Arrange a free initial consultation with our Brighton attorneys about grandparents' rights in Michigan.