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Do Grandparents Have Legal Rights to See Their Grandchildren?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2020 | Uncategorized |

If you have grandchildren, few things are more pleasing than having a fun visit. Unfortunately, not every grandparent has access to their beloved grandchildren, which can make building and maintaining a relationship difficult. In some cases, grandparents in Wisconsin have access to legal rights granting them visitation.

Grandparent rights can present a difficult situation, and the laws are not always easy to understand. In this article, you will learn more about Wisconsin’s grandparent right laws and how they impact your current situation.

Why Do Grandparents Seek Rights?

Grandparents often seek visitation rights because they are in the midst of a dispute with their child, the parent of their grandchild. The parent may not want their child to spend time with the grandparent. Regardless of the reason behind the parent’s decision, grandparents often seek legal visitation to guarantee they can spend time with their grandkids.

In some cases, one of the grandchild’s biological parents has died or perhaps has gone to prison after a criminal conviction. In each of these circumstances, the grandparent may seek legal rights to ensure the parent’s lack of presence does not impact their relationship with the grandchild.

Who Has Access to Grandparent Rights?

In order to obtain grandparent rights, you must first demonstrate that you have already established a strong relationship with your grandchildren. You must have already met the grandchild and have had access to him or her.

Additionally, your opportunity to request third-party visitation rights usually only comes up if some type of legal action is going on that could threaten the family unit. These circumstances include divorce, legal separation, or adoption.

If your adult child is not granted custody of his or her child after a divorce, you may be able to fight for visitation rights. For example, your child may have gone to prison or run off, but this does not mean you have to lose your relationship with your grandchild.

Grandparent visitation may also be available for grandparents if the children’s biological parents were never married but established paternity in court.

Some grandparents actually seek full custody of a child, but it’s quite rare for the court to grant such rights to grandparents. Grandparent custody is typically only available if one or both of the parents is deemed unfit to parent the child or if the biological parents allow the grandparents to have guardianship.

When Does the Court Deny Grandparent Visitation?

If the biological parents of your grandchild are still married and alive, grandparent rights are not typically granted. Generally, the court does not like to interfere with parenting decisions, and it may perceive the parents as wanting to protect their children.

Grandparents are typically not given visitation after a divorce if both parents are granted some form of custody. The reasoning behind this is that the grandparent should be able to visit with the child when one of the biological parents has physical custody.

Finally, keep in mind that grandparent visitation is revocable. If the judge decides that you may be trying to turn your grandchild against one or both of the parents, you may no longer have legal visitation.

What Can Grandparents Do?

Ultimately, the court considers the child’s best interest in granting decisions in these cases. If you still have questions about securing grandparent rights, you should consult with an attorney. You may be able to clear up a misunderstanding through mediation without ever going to court, or perhaps you can better understand your rights with the help of a professional.

The Law Offices of Thomas Marola may be able to help. We understand the nuances of family law in Wisconsin, and we can represent your rights in court.